APRIL 2020 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 15
CLIMATE CHANGE A GROWING THREAT
BY KARL GROSSMAN
Investigative reporter and professor
“A good thing to remember as we enter
a new decade is that we’ve waited far too
long to take action on climate change,”
said Gordian Raacke, executive director
of Renewable Energy Long Island. “Now
we have just a small window left to act.”
Raacke was speaking as much of Australia
was burning largely due to climate
change, while its national government
leadership remains in denial about the
issue. The major reason for climate
change is the burning of fossil fuels, and
Australia continues to be dependent on
coal-fired power plants.
“Australia’s leaders … defend the fossil
fuel industry, a big donor to both major
parties — as if they were willing the country
to its doom,” wrote Australian author
Richard Flanagan in a recent piece in The
New York Times headlined “Australia Is
Committing Climate Suicide.”
The nation’s prime minister (like
America’s president) insists climate
change is a hoax. It’s no hoax. Among
its other impacts, climate change “takes
moisture out of the ground and vegetation,
so it’s much drier” — thus the fires
all over Australia, explains Raacke.
For Long Island, the main impacts
are sea-level rise and more intense
hurricanes, their power heightened
by the increasingly warmer ocean
waters on which hurricanes feed,
As for sea-level rise, Kevin McAllister,
founding president of Sag Harbor-based
Defend H20, has noted that over the past
40 years, waters surrounding LI rose by
4 inches, and now, the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation
predicts because of climate change, in the
next 40 years “we can expect they’ll rise
by 11 to 30 inches.”
People on the Island, like those in Australia,
need to call for strong action to be
taken to deal with the causes of climate
change, notably demanding alternatives
to fossil fuels. For Long Island, the program
spearheaded by New York State
Gov. Andrew Cuomo to harvest wind off
our shores is a great advance. It’s among
the abundant green energy alternatives
to fossil fuels.
The state Climate Leadership and Community
Protection Act, passed last year, aims
for a 100 percent reduction in greenhouse
gas emissions by 2050 with the stated goal
of “exercising a global leadership role on
greenhouse gas mitigation and climate
change adaptation.’” The word “leadership”
in its title is telling.
“As Washington turns a blind eye and
rolls back decades of environmental
protections, New York turns to a future
of net zero emissions,” Cuomo said.
POINT OF VIEW
“For Long Island, the main impacts are sea-level rise
and more intense hurricanes.”
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