Until recently, environmental issues have not been at the forefront of NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio’s initiatives. The administration has been largely focused on universal pre-kindergarten, affordable housing, and crime and police-community relationships. This week, however, DeBlasio has turned his attention to environmental issues; this pivot coincides with Climate Week and the UN’s Climate Summit. DeBlasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, made strides towards environmental sustainability with the landmark PlaNYC sustainability plan and associated laws and regulations; now it’s DeBlasio’s turn to begin shaping his environmental legacy. Just this week the administration announced plans to target building energy efficiency in the city. Given the city’s rich transit options and densely populated urban fabric, buildings consume around 75% of all energy in the city. The city plans to focus on energy efficiency for municipal buildings and public housing, and funding will be set aside in the capital plan for these efforts. Additionally, DeBlasio plans to continue and expand city benchmarking rules. Ultimately, the administration hopes to achieve an 80% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels.
De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of BuildingsThe New York Times, September 20, 2014
In a sweeping effort to reduce its environmental impact, New York City is planning to overhaul the energy-efficiency standards of all its public buildings and to pressure private landlords to make similar improvements.
The initiative is part of a pledge, to be announced before the start of the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels. The United Nations has pointed to that rate of decrease as a desired target for developed countries to mitigate the effects of climate change.
New York would become the largest city in the world to make the commitment, according to the city’s leaders.