Hot Earth, or Hot Air?

Where elected officials stand on global warming


Sandy Galef (D), State Assembly

Galef, whose district includes Philipstown, was endorsed in 2016 by the League of Conservation Voters. She received a perfect score from the advocacy group EPL/Environmental Advocates for her voting record.

“Global climate change is a very serious issue,” Galef said in a statement. “We need to work together with our neighbors to reduce our footprint in any way we can. The science is solid, and every step we can take to slow carbon emission and protect the environment is necessary.”


Frank Skartados (D), State Assembly

Skartados, who represented Beacon until his death in April, received a 95 percent rating from EPL/Environmental Advocates.

Like Galef, he supported the proposed New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, which has passed three times in the Assembly but never come up for a vote in the Senate. Among other measures, the proposal would set limits on the amount of greenhouse gas that can be emitted statewide, allocate funds for renewable energy such as solar and wind and require electric companies to obtain 50 percent of their power by 2030 from renewable sources.


Sue Serino (R), State Senate

EPL/Environmental Advocates gave Serino a 68 percent rating on environmental issues in 2017, up from 57 percent the year before. In 2017, she co-sponsored a bill to combat food waste, noting that the methane it creates while decomposing in landfills contributes to global warming.

Asked about her stance on climate change, Serino replied: “Our local community has been hit hard by storm after devastating storm, and as the chair of the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne-Diseases, we know that our environment is changing and we need to be doing all that we can to prevent that. Addressing this issue will take committed partners at every level and the state has made some affirmative steps forward with my support.

“This year, the state budget included $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund and we work consistently to increase awareness for the many ways New Yorkers can work together to reduce greenhouse gas output and waste that may contribute to climate change.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)

“Climate change is a reality,” he has said, and to not address it would be “gross negligence by government and irresponsible as citizens.”


Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), U.S. House

After President Donald Trump removed the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate treaty, Maloney said that “pulling out of this agreement is lazy and it’s shortsighted and it sacrifices our role as a world leader. The rest of the world is laughing at us, because they’re going to create the cutting-edge technology that will be worth billions and create millions of new jobs.

“Climate change is a big problem — and it’s going to take a big idea to solve it. America has always been a leader in coming up with these big ideas —we went to the moon, we invented flight, we built the interstate system and invented mass production. We can’t give up on solving this problem because it’s a hard one.”

Maloney’s Republican opponent in 2014, Nan Hayworth, said during a debate: “I certainly accept the science on this. I default to yes, there is a man-made contribution to climate change.” His opponent from 2016, Phil Oliva, wrote earlier this year that activists such as Al Gore “have a lot of money invested in global-warming apocalyptic theory” and criticized “global-warming alarmists” who warn about rising temperatures while it was “snowing in Florida.”


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Gillibrand, who also has a perfect score from the League of Conservation Voters, has said: “Climate change is real. Sea levels are rising, and I’ve seen firsthand how violent weather has devastated communities in New York.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D)

Schumer, who received a perfect score from the League of Conservation Voters, took part in the People’s Climate March last fall. “Anybody in New York who doubted the effects of climate change changed their minds after Sandy,” he said.

President Donald Trump (R)

In 2012, four years before his election, the president wrote on Twitter that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” to harm the U.S. economy. In 2013 and 2014, he called global warming “an expensive hoax.”

By October 2016, he was less dismissive, although he put “climate change” in air quotes, arguing “there is still much that needs to be investigated in the field.”

At the time, his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, said: “The science is crystal clear. Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.”

As president, Trump appointed Scott Pruitt as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency. After being confirmed, Pruitt claimed that while the earth is warming, it’s “far from settled” that it’s caused by the burning of fossil fuels. “There’s tremendous [scientific] disagreement about the degree of [human] impact,” he said.

On June 4, a federal judge ruled the EPA was required to respond to a Freedom of Information Law request from an environmental group that asked to see the scientific research Pruitt used to reach his conclusions.

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