New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just ticked off a lot of hot and sweaty New Yorkers with an emergency declaration on Thursday night ordering tall buildings in the city to crank their thermostats up to an uncomfortable 78 degrees.
Because of a relentless heat wave plaguing large portions of the United States, temperatures in the Big Apple are expected to reach the upper 90s during the day, with heat indices expected to reach 100 degrees.
City officials, including de Blasio, announced their fears that the NYC power grid won’t be able to handle millions of New Yorkers turning down their thermostats to beat the heat, which prompted the emergency order by the mayor’s office, according to the New York Post.
“We are about to enter a heat emergency, and must do all we can to keep New Yorkers safe,” de Blasio said. “The City government is limiting its energy use to reduce strain on the electrical grid, and now private office buildings will also have to do their part.”
The mayor tweeted more information Thursday evening.
“I’ve declared a local emergency due to the extreme heat, directing owners and operators of large office buildings to set building thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve energy from Friday morning to Sunday evening. City government buildings are already making the adjustment,” de Blasio wrote.
I’ve declared a local emergency due to the extreme heat, directing owners and operators of large office buildings to set building thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve energy from Friday morning to Sunday evening.
City government buildings are already making the adjustment. https://t.co/2sF0tJUnJt
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 19, 2019
The order, which is in effect until Sunday (when the heat is anticipated to break), applies to buildings in the city that are over 100 feet tall.
As expected, backlash to the order on social media was swift and fierce, with many arguing that the order could be dangerous, citing medical conditions.
“If you have emphysema or asthma that temp is TOO warm. I’d be in the hospital with my asthma within 2 hours,” one Twitter user wrote in reply to de Blasio’s tweet.
If you have emphysema or asthma that temp is TOO warm. I’d be in the hospital with my asthma within 2 hours.
— Karen Mit (@slominskam) July 19, 2019
Others questioned de Blasio’s authority, wondering if the authority was lawful.
It’s a valid concern; a reporter from the New York Post asked de Blasio a day before he issued the order if he, in fact, had such authority.
The mayor’s answer reeked of incompetence.
“I will always be careful since my lawyers are not present about exactly whether we can order or whether it’s encouraged or what rules we can use. We’ll come back to you. It’s a great question,” he said Wednesday. “This is uncharted territory for me because this is the first time we’ve had this level of heat in my administration.”
This is a man running for president. He wants to lead the most powerful country on the planet, yet he’s not sure how to handle a summer heat wave in his city.
It doesn’t take a political analyst to predict how he’ll likely use the record-breaking to his advantage. Just give it a few days and the next words we’ll hear from him will probably include the phrase “climate change.”
If de Blasio, a known climate change activist, would spend less time drumming up fear about global warming and attacking President Donald Trump’s administration on the issue, perhaps he would have more time to focus on his city’s antiquated power grid.
He’d better hope and pray that his order to combat the heat wave by cranking up thermostats doesn’t cost anyone their lives.
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