NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As he vows to lower emissions in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio is defending being driven from Gracie Mansion to a Brooklyn gym in an SUV every day.
During the mayor’s weekly radio appearance Friday on WNYC, de Blasio said cities have to take the lead on following the goals of the Paris climate accord after President Donald Trump announced the United States is exiting the deal.
Later, while discussing a possible ban on plastic bags, de Blasio said it also comes down to the individual.
“Everyone in their own life has to change their own habits to start protecting the Earth,” de Blasio said.
A caller later criticized the mayor for his motorcade rides from the Upper East Side to a YMCA in Park Slope for his daily workouts, saying he needs to “step up his game” and “lead by example.”
The caller said, “You’re not going to be able to lead when you’re sitting in your SUV being chauffeured every day, 12 miles from Gracie Mansion to Park Slope just so that you can ride an exercise bike.”
“I’m just not going to take the bait, my friend,” the mayor responded. “I have instructed folks in my government to turn our fleet into electric cars. We are moving to renewables we are retrofitting our building. We’re doing all the things, that’s the real leadership, it’s not whether or not I go to the gym.”
De Blasio said his SUV is a fuel-efficient hybrid and that he takes the subway “When it makes sense to use the subway.”
“Whether I go to the gym does not affect the policies that affect millions of people,” de Blasio said. “We change the world with policies that affect people and the policies of this city are going to lead to addressing climate change in a much more aggressive way that it’s ever been addressed in the history of New York City.”
De Blasio is one of 61 mayors across the country who announced a pledge to adopt and uphold the Paris accord goals. The mayor said pulling out of the deal would be “horribly destructive to the earth.”
“If the United States of America is going to waver on addressing climate change then cities and states are going to have to step up,” de Blasio said during the radio show.
The mayor said he plans to sign an executive order maintaining New York City’s commitment to the Paris agreement, saying New York will partner with cities big and small across the country to do the same.