New York State is determined to follow California off the climate change cliff—or surpass it in the race to the bottom. In doing so, both states have declared economic war on middle and working class residents.

California has banned the sale of gasoline vehicles by 2035. Last autumn, New York’s new unelected Governor, Kathy Hochul, took over after Andrew Cuomo resigned to avoid being impeached and convicted by the State Legislature, and signed a bill to do the same.

Now they are coming after our lawn equipment. Gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and trimmers are in the crosshairs of the climate extremist industry. These people wield enormous political and financial influence over fellow travelers like California Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Hochul, and many other politicians today.

In the name of “fighting climate change,” natural gas, coal and oil must be phased out, these politicians and fanatics tell us. What if lawn equipment, automobiles, energy, government debt and taxes skyrocket in cost to non-wealthy people? They want us to believe they have a planet to rescue and crave wielding power over our lives by invoking such delusion.

The Party of FDR, Truman and JFK, once the political home and champion of the working class, has become a relic.

Last autumn, California became the first state to ban gas-powered lawn equipment. Several New York State legislators propose bills to do likewise. Other states may follow.

Most Democratic lawmakers who control New York state government I conjecture do not do yard work because they are city-dwellers living in apartments, co-ops or condos. They don’t have lawns nor own deciduous trees. Many of these same urbanites drive less frequently than average, if at all.

When you don’t have a yard to maintain—much less a personal vehicle—it becomes way easier to preen about climate from a soapbox and outlaw products essential to others.

Several New York communities were not waiting for the state to ban gas-powered lawn equipment. At least 19 municipalities imposed local bans, the first one being my hometown of Larchmont, a suburb of New York City, which became effective at the beginning of this year.

Larchmont has always been a lovely community and was way more middle class when I grew up there in the 1970’s. Yet, who knew I was being so harmed as a youth by leaf blowers? Rather, I recall the azaleas blooming this time of year as spectacular.

Now that the village has become an enclave of the wealthy, most residents can afford to adopt utterly feckless local laws to reduce quotidian emissions, lower the volume for seasonal leaf blowing, and pretend something virtuous was accomplished while sipping adult beverages at their local golf or beach club. They can pay more for their gardeners who—along with lower-income residents who maintain their own yards—are forced to invest in more expensive, less efficient equipment that takes longer to finish the job.

The Mayor of Larchmont, a woman named Lorraine Walsh, explained the ban on gasoline engines by imitating AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez): “The issue of climate change is front-and-center; we’re speeding toward a point of no return.” There is no indication Mayor Walsh was asked to substantiate her crackpot assertion, and much less justify how a single square-mile community’s worth of lawn equipment now contraband, was going to cool the planet.

I don’t begrudge those who can afford servants and country clubs (I was employed at one for years). We’re supposed to be a free country and no doubt they earned the luxury. But if New York follows California’s lunacy to prohibit gas-powered lawn equipment, the 99 percent of municipalities that are not as wealthy as Larchmont or the Hamptons on Long Island, will not cope so seamlessly. These New Yorkers will still pay more for such climate virtue-signaling by politicians and the rich.

California, New York and other states are not stopping at outlawing gasoline vehicles and yard machines. Governor Hochul is beginning to spend hundreds of millions of debt and taxpayer dollars to “retrofit” homes and buildings—another pointless exercise with zero climate impact. New York also may be the first state to prohibit new buildings from having natural gas hook-ups, a proposal that was dropped (for now) at the last minute from the state budget earlier this month, to the chagrin of the climate lobby.

New York City already adopted a law to ban natural gas in new building construction (beginning in 2024), which was among the last acts of hapless Mayor Bill de Blasio before his term-limited departure in December. Seattle, Cambridge, San Francisco and other locales governed by climate extremists have passed similar bans.

So, the climate beat goes on. Like our masters in public office and the bureaucracy who forced counterproductive Covid-19 policies, the same are imposing destructive and unnecessary climate provisions on America’s poor to middle class with ongoing vapid claims about following “science and data” to “fight climate change.” Yet, on a planetary scale, such policies will have not even a microscopic effect while they pile on costly harm to millions of Americans’ livelihoods.

Author

  • Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: https://www.petermurphylgs.com/