[New York, NY] – Environment New York marked the first day of summer by urging leaders at all levels of government to tackle climate change. According to scientists at Climate Central, global warming pollution will fuel even hotter summers in the future. Summer temperatures in New York are already 1.6 degrees hotter now, on average, than in the 1970s. Without action to eliminate global warming pollution, summer temperatures here in New York could rise by more than 9 degrees by the end of the century. That would make summer days in New York feel more like they do now in South Carolina.
“With much hotter summers in our future, going to the beach won’t be enough to beat the heat,”
said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Grab your phone along with your sunscreen and your water bottle, and then call your elected representatives. Ask them to cut pollution and shift us towards 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”
Hotter temperatures put our health at risk. Extreme or long-lasting heat can overwhelm our bodies’ ability to cool, resulting in potentially severe problems like heat exhaustion. Infants, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
Hotter summer days also mean unhealthy air. In 2015, New York City had 92 smog days where the air was unhealthy to breathe. Smog forms when pollution from dirty fuels or chemicals mix in sunlight. Breathing it can cause a wide range of health problems, from asthma attacks to respiratory illness.
“Here in New York, the last thing we need is more air pollution and sweltering summer days,” said Leibowitz. “We can protect our health and our summers by cutting dangerous pollution and moving to clean, renewable energy.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo must accelerate our transition to clean energy by doubling the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an important program that limits pollution from power plants here in New York and invests in the clean energy future.