Welcome to the first-ever This Week in The World, a weekly round-up by TOHV of environmental news in the Hudson Valley and everywhere else.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put Climate Change center stage during his eighth annual State of The State Address last week, calling it “the transcendent threat of our times.” The “Restore Mother Nature Bond Act,” a $3 billion bond to restore natural environments and reduce flooding through natural resiliency, will be placed on this November’s ballot as a referendum, he said. Cuomo pushed for more electric vehicles in his address, calling for 800 public electric vehicle chargers to be constructed around the state by 2024; for the five largest non-NYC transit authorities to electrify their buses by 2035; and for $100 million in financing to “help clean-transportation business locate or expand in New York,” according to the proposals. Building on this year’s single-use plastic bag ban, Cuomo also proposed new legislation prohibiting the distribution and use of single-use Styrofoam. Read Cuomo’s speech here and see the full proposals here.
- BlackRock, which manages almost $7 trillion as the world’s largest asset manager, moved towards more sustainable investment models in it’s annual letter to clients and annual statement by its CEO, Larry Fink. The corporation said it will divest in companies making more than 25% of their revenue from thermal coal, and expand the use of indexes alerting clients to how sustainable different investments are. BlackRock is considered a world leader in investing, and Fink’s annual letter is closely read by CEOs around the world. Read Fink’s letter here and the letter to clients here.
- Ulster County announced Thursday it is launching a state-funded program at SUNY Ulster to train residents to work in the clean technology sector. The “Green Careers Academy,” funded by $250,000 from the state Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers “free or reduced tuition to certify Ulster County’s youth, active volunteer firefighters, veterans, and low-income and long-term unemployed people in entry-level clean technology courses enabling them to apply for work in one of the many clean technology companies in Ulster County,” according to a press release by County Executive Pat Ryan. Graduates of the eight-week program will be placed in local internships and on-the-job training programs. The academy will also develop workshops at the Ulster County Jail.