As mayor of the largest city in America, Bill de Blasio’s bully pulpit can have a profound effect on important issues. And by most accounts Mr. Mayor is not afraid to use that power.
On Earth Day, de Blasio doubled-down on his efforts to curb New Yorkers’ contribution to climate change. On Monday he announced the Green New Deal – New York version – a $14 billion plan that, among other things, bans future construction of energy inefficient glass-walled buildings and forces large existing buildings to reduce their carbon footprint or face massive fines.
Of importance to livestock producers, de Blasio also plans to cut purchases of red meat by 50% in its city-controlled facilities such as hospitals, schools and correctional facilities. That proposal comes after he announced in March all of New York’s public schools would observe Meatless Mondays.
As with any politician, de Blasio’s plans have come under heavy criticism, especially by pundits who claimed economists were “sounding the alarm that the finances of the city de Blasio is supposed to be running were getting carved up.” But, if anything, de Blasio seems to have thick skin as he forges forward with his agenda.
Why? Did we mention he’s considering running for president in 2020?
Regarding his environmental efforts, one New York pundit wrote, “de Blasio has no problem lecturing kids at New York’s public schools about ‘cutting back on meat’ to save the environment. But he’s shown less interest giving up the fleet of SUVs that bring him to and from the gym.”
Ouch…that’s not a good image. But de Blasio’s most embarrassing moment was of his own making. After announcing he plans to curb meat consumption in the Big Apple, he Tweeted:
“Look — I like a good burger as much as the next guy. But our @NYCSchools students know that livestock farming produces 20 - 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. That's why they demanded #MeatlessMondays. Saving our planet is about saving their future.”
Whoa, Mr. Mayor! 20% to 50%? Really? I’ve heard of politicians exaggerating, but that’s one big whopper!
Here’s what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says are the largest sources of U.S. GHG emissions in 2016: electricity production 28%; transportation 28%; industry 22%.
All of agriculture accounted for a total of 9%. All of animal agriculture contributes less than half of this amount, representing 3.9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s 3.9%, Mr. Mayor. A far cry from 50%!