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Toward a New Society Following COVID-19 The “Green New Deal” Advocated by New York State Governor Cuomo

Norio Murakami, President, Norio Murakami Office / Professor, Graduate School of Osaka City University / President, Institute for HyperNetwork Society / Advisor, Renewable Energy Institute

10 June 2020

in Japanese

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, one of the world’s worst-hit hotspots in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is winning growing acclaim for his leadership during the crisis, including a measured, science-based initial response; rapid organization development to respond to the situation; and flexible, agile tactics in light of the changing circumstances. These measures are helping New York State become one of the successful states in stabilizing the situation and once flattening then decreasing the infection and death rate.

As the U.S. looks to “reopen” in the next step following the closed down phase, relaxing restrictions and recommencing economic activity, New York State, an administrative district comprised of “regions” which are positioned between county and state, has set a cautious reopening schedule from May 15 onwards, establishing seven strict criteria which must be fulfilled before each of the state’s ten regions can reopen, including keeping at least 30 percent of their hospital beds available, and 30 percent of their ICU beds available. This reopening further classifies businesses into four categories, ranging from industries that are essential and pose a low risk of spread of infection to those that are less-essential and have a high risk in terms of infection spread, with Phase One businesses reopening first and moving forward gradually to finally include Phase Four businesses. Decisions regarding whether to move to the next phase are also based on scientific criteria, specifically whether the data shows that the aforementioned seven strict criteria have been able to be maintained under the current phase.

As of June 1, five regions in the state have completed the transition to Phase Two, with two further regions awaiting decision on whether to shift to Phase Two. New York City, the final region lagging the others, has set June 8 as a target reopening date, and is making a concerted push to meet the seven criteria.

New York State is now at the stage where it can begin discussing the plans in the next step following the reopening, and Governor Cuomo has begun advocating a new economic stimulus package that could be described as a “Green New Deal,” involving the federal government in discussions. Referring to the New Deal enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt responding to the Great Depression, Cuomo’s plan calls for public work projects of a similar scale. Although naturally limited to public works in New York State due to his position as New York State Governor, Cuomo’s proposal is particularly noteworthy for the inclusion of large-scale investment in renewable energy, and includes:

1)Development of renewable electricity generation in New York State’s “upstate” northern regions.
2)Construction of a transmission network to transport this electricity to “downstate” southern regions.
3)Establishment of transmission lines to transport renewable energy directly from Canada to New York City.

Although details of these projects have not yet been disclosed, “Blue-Ribbon Commission” comprised of 16 business leaders has been separately established as an advisory committee, chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Going forward, attention will be on focused on New York State’s Green New Deal as the full picture gradually comes to light, including how the private sector will be involved, how surrounding businesses in this concept will be further enhanced, and how this initiative will be integrated with other public work projects being planned, such as enhancement of transport networks, primarily in New York City.  

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