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"Pedaling" the Message: New Yorkers Face another Meltdown

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October 21, 2008

New York, NY - New Yorkers may be riveted by the Wall Street meltdown, but another kind of heat could have more devastating consequences. Advocates across the state are "pedaling" a message to the Empire State capitol that climate change is what really matters.

Blair Horner with the New York Public Interest Research Group is one of the bicycle riders. He hopes the public and elected officials will remember that New York and the world face problems that go beyond the Wall Street roller coaster.

"While the public has been transfixed by the global meltdown of the financial industry, one important meltdown is falling underneath the radar screen, which is the meltdown of the climate."

Scientists are now reporting record-high autumn temperatures in the Arctic that are melting polar ice caps. According to Horner, New York is seeing its own climate change impacts with rising sea levels.

The scientific community has made it clear that major changes are needed, such as greenhouse gas reductions of 80 percent by the middle of the century, Horner says. Some doubt whether human actions can have an effect, but candidates should declare where they stand, he adds.

"The election is coming up in just a few short weeks and we think that this is the important issue. There is no turning back if we end up with runaway global warming -- the world as we know it will be devastated. Now is the time for the candidates to speak up and let the public know what kind of policies they think they will embrace."

Horner is with a group of riders following the Hudson River, headed north. Another group is following the Erie Canal through Rochester, Syracuse and Utica. Both groups will link up in Albany on Sunday.

Michael Clifford/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NY