Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New York City Mayor de Blasio Takes On Climate Change

Climate

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke today at the opening session of the UN Climate Summit, welcoming world leaders to his city and urging action on climate change, which he called an "existential threat."

Start spreading the news: NYC buildings are responsible for nearly three-quarters of its contribution to climate change.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

This comes on the heels of his just-announced plan to address the threat of climate change in his own backyard.

"With our significant public infrastructure, a world-class mass transit system, dense living patterns and a capacity for civic innovation, we are uniquely positioned to become the most sustainable big city in the world," it said.

The plan, "One City Built To Last: Transforming New York City's Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future," set a goal for the city to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050, the equivalent of taking 700,000 vehicles off the road. It would make New York the largest city to commit to this goal. It's the target set by the U.N. for developed countries.

"In New York City, our buildings are responsible for the overwhelming share of our emissions," said de Blasio. "The energy we use in our homes, schools, workplaces, stores and public facilities accounts for nearly three-quarters of our contribution to climate change. But we can upgrade our buildings to make them more energy efficient and reduce these emissions. With this work, we can make our homes more affordable, improve the quality of our air and create a thriving market for energy efficiency and renewable energy–with new jobs and new businesses."

He announced that New York will upgrade the energy efficiency of all public buildings by 2025 at a projected cost of $1 billion. But the plan projects an annual savings to taxpayers in energy costs of $1.4 billion. The city will also provide incentives for private property owners to do the same. The 100-page plan detailed the many areas in which the city's buildings could be made less polluting.

According to The New York Times, "Building on programs adopted by the state—which in 2009 set its own goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels—city officials will also offer grants and other incentives to owners. As part of a 'green grant program' for affordable housing, officials said, the city will pay for efficiency upgrades if owners agree to preserve lower-cost units in a given building."

The paper also said that while some landlords might be expected to resist new energy efficiency requirements, Rob Speyer, chairman of the city's Real Estate Board, reacted favorably and said the move would “help solidify New York’s standing as the world’s model of sustainability.”

In announcing the plan, de Blasio talked about how Hurricane Sandy two years ago drove home the reality of climate change for New Yorkers.

"New Yorkers are facing the risks of rising sea levels, increased temperatures and heat waves, and increasing frequency of intense storms," he said. "The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 provided tragic evidence of these risks. Almost two years later, we are still recovering. Globally, rising sea levels will flood coastlines, droughts will disrupt livelihoods, and storms and other extreme weather will threaten lives and economic development. We are faced with an existential threat, and inaction is not an option."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Ten U.S. Cities Band Together to Cut Climate Pollution

How Obama’s ‘Year of Action’ Could Advance Green Building

Three Ways New York Made Environmental History in 2013

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Moroccan patients who recovered from the novel coronavirus disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in Sale, Morocco, on April 3, 2020. AFP / Getty Images

By Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

Read More Show Less
Reef scene with crinoid and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Four rolls of sourdough bread are arranged on a surface. Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post / Getty Images

By Zulfikar Abbany

Bread has been a source of basic nutrition for centuries, the holy trinity being wheat, maize and rice. It has also been the reason for a lot of innovation in science and technology, from millstones to microbiological investigations into a family of single-cell fungi called Saccharomyces.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A coral reef in Egypt's Red Sea. Tropical ocean ecosystems could see sudden biodiversity losses this decade if emissions are not reduced. Georgette Douwma / Stone / Getty Images

The biodiversity loss caused by the climate crisis will be sudden and swift, and could begin before 2030.

Read More Show Less