NYC Makes Major Strides to Combat Climate Change and Improve Quality of Life In 2023

December 21, 2023

NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Advance Projects to Increase Coastal Resiliency, Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Noise Pollution and Protect World-Class Tap Water

NEW YORK CITY—Demonstrating all the work done to protect and improve the environment and quality of life in New York City, NYC’s Chief Climate Officer and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala today released a list of key wins achieved for New Yorkers in 2023.

“Climate change is impacting the city rapidly—from one of the driest summers on record to the wettest September that brought flooding to much of the city. That’s why the Adams administration is working around-the-clock to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fortify the city against these extreme weather patterns,” said Commissioner Aggarwala. “We’re also making critical investments in our upstate drinking water supply and using new technology to crack down on noise and improve the quality of life in the city.”

“Climate change is a crisis that demands we meet the moment,” said Elijah Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “From working to help buildings get the tools they need to decarbonize, to finding new and innovative ways to mitigate the impacts of flooding, to engaging environmental justice communities in collaborative resiliency projects, we are getting stuff done on climate change.”

Adams administration environmental and public health highlights from 2023 include:

Making Neighborhoods More Resilient to Extreme Weather

Reducing the City’s Contributions to Climate Change

  • Released PlaNYC, the first climate plan of the Adams administration, with 32 initiatives to improve quality of life, protect New Yorkers from climate threats, and build the green economic engine.
  • Partnered with National Grid to start an innovative renewable biogas-to-grid project at DEP’s Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) in Greenpoint. This first-of-its kind project has expanded NYC’s capacity to produce a reliable source of clean energy, reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills, and improve air quality.
  • Created the city’s first integrated greenhouse gas inventory, which incorporates emissions from the production of goods and services New Yorkers consume.
  • Launched “Getting 97 Done” to cut harmful carbon emissions from the city’s large buildings as part of their obligations under Local Law 97 of 2019.
  • Elijah Hutchinson was announced as the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. He is delivering on our PlaNYC objectives while also looking at ways to ensure all New Yorkers are protected against the impacts of climate change.
  • Released the city’s first long-term energy plan, PowerUp NYC, which provides a clear strategy to accelerate the city’s commitment to meeting its clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • Began community engagement on Climate Strong Communities, a program that maximizes unprecedented infrastructure and climate funding opportunities with a focus on the most at-risk and environmental justice areas, started engagement in Soundview, Brownsville, Corona, and Port Richmond, and built on prior work in Canarsie and East Harlem.

Protecting the City’s Drinking Water and Ensuring Reliable Delivery to New Yorkers

  • Conducted nearly 3 million drinking water quality tests, including in the laboratory and by the network of robotic monitors on the reservoirs.
  • Upgrading facilities at Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers and are preparing to break ground on a $1.9 billion water tunnel in Westchester County in order to protect the city’s water supply system.
  • Completing a $400 million upgrade of the infrastructure at Schoharie Reservoir and Gilboa Dam, the city’s northernmost water supply facilities.

Improving the Quality of NYC’s Waterways

  • Broke ground with U.S. EPA on a $1.6 billion infrastructure project to protect the Gowanus Canal by constructing two massive underground storage tanks that will prevent up to 12 million gallons of sewer overflow during rainstorms. The project will also create 3.6 acres of new public waterfront open space and amenities for the Gowanus community.
  • Advanced the Tibbets Brook Daylighting project after years of stalemate by reaching an agreement with railroad freight company CSX Transportation to purchase a piece of property critical to the project. Once complete, the project will create additional capacity in the Bronx sewer system, improve water quality in the Harlem River, and provide residents with new green space.

Improving New Yorkers’ Quality of Life

  • Expanded the pilot noise camera program that targets illegally modified vehicles that produce excessive noise in violation of the city’s Noise Code.

Increasing Access to Fresh Food for New York City Students

  • The Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture (MOUA), in collaboration with the Office of Food & Nutrition Services (OFNS), acquired $8.4 million in grant funding to purchase school food from local farmers.
  • MOUA and OFNS also collaborated to launch a reimagined Farm to School program with $200,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.