BY MIKE LEE
Overcoming staunch political opposition from the real estate industry, New York City has embarked on an unprecedented effort to reduce greenhouse emissions citywide.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chair Costa Constantinides and other Council members and community leaders in announcing OneNYC2050, an ambitious green initiative that comes on the heels of the passage of the Climate Mobilization Act.
The Climate Mobilization Act, spearheaded by Constantinides and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, provides $14 billion in investments to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030.
“Climate justice is the moral imperative of our generation,” said Garrido. “We will not be cowed by fear, rather we will be leading the way.”
Part of the pioneering green agenda commits the city to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting buildings over 25,000 square feet. Meeting the city’s targets will require good-paying new jobs.
Garrido said meeting the city’s targets will require new, good-paying jobs – including inspectors and building engineers – that will be part of the city’s new green economy.
For years, the union has been a leader in fighting for climate justice. In his position as a trustee for the NYCERS pension fund, Garrido pushed for divestment in fossil fuels, which by early 2018 accounted for $5 billion in city’s pension fund portfolio.
With the support of Mayor de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the union pushed hard to move these pension investments to green energy.
These efforts paid off in December 2018, when NYCERS implemented a new investment strategy to divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest $4 billion in green energy.
“Moving to clean energy isn’t a pipe dream. It is a sound investment strategy,” said Garrido. “Pivoting from fossil fuel investments to renewable energy is essential for the long-term economy, and for the stability of the pension system.”
The union’s focus now shifts to preparing members for their future role in the Green New Deal with training and education, he said.
“We fought for this legislation because it is right thing to do “Garrido said.” “We cannot expect anybody else to do this for us. New York City must take a stand for climate justice.”