A new report from an international panel of scientists has found with near certainty that rising temperatures around the globe are caused by human activity. Yet under Republican Rob Astorino, Westchester County has withdrawn from planning organizations and other groups that promote sustainable growth and abandoned promising regional initiatives such as Westchester 2025 and Westchester Climate Action Plan. At closed-door meetings with Republican activists, Astorino has reportedly explained his withdrawal by citing right-wing conspiracy theories that tie climate action organizations to a non-existent United Nations plot to usurp American sovereignty.

“The County’s neglect of planning priorities hampers economic growth in the region and imperils our environment,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “As a municipal leader, I’ve taken forward-looking action to promote sustainability, while also cutting costs for taxpayers. As County Executive I’d renew Westchester’s leadership role on this vital priority and stand with scientists, not conspiracy theorists, when it comes to the challenge of climate change.”

Mr. Astorino has never publicly acknowledged the reality of climate change. He should tell the people of Westchester:

  1. Do you believe climate change is real?
  2. Do you believe human activity has contributed significantly to rising global temperatures?
  3. Will you unequivocally reject right-wing conspiracy theories that suggest mainstream climate action organizations are part of a United Nations plot to usurp American sovereignty?
  4. Will you update and implement Westchester’s own Climate Action Plan?

“Truth Week” is Noam Bramson’s weeklong effort to get Republican Rob Astorino to address important issues facing Westchester County. On Monday, Bramson challenged Astorino to explain his decision to bring gun shows back to the County Center. On Tuesday, he challenged Astorino explain his proposal for Playland. On Wednesday, he asked Astorino to clarify his views on reproductive health care. No answers have yet been offered.

As part of an aggressively hostile opposition towards government action in general and efforts to combat climate change in particular, some on the far right have strenuously opposed organizations such ICLEI and Agenda 21. They suggest that such voluntary efforts to combat climate change are in reality part of an elaborate plot by the United Nations to subvert American sovereignty and take away private property rights. For some examples of this, please click any of these links.
According to a report from a local Republican activist, Rob Astorino said he ended the County’s participation in sustainability efforts because of these arguments. Last June, that activist wrote that “An interesting question by John D’Alois was posed. He asked how the County came to withdraw from ICLEI. Astorino answered that after his appearance on the Sean Hannity show he was flooded with emails about the central planning and zoning by the UN. The money funding for ICLEI was stopped.” [June 22, 2012, LINK]