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NYC Delivers First-Ever City Plan to Meet the Goals of the Paris Climate Agreement

October 3, 2017

Plan identifies actions NYC will take in the next three years to accelerate emissions reductions in support of the global l.5° Celsius warming target

NEW YORK—In fulfillment of Mayor de Blasio’s June executive order to adopt and commit the City to the principles of the Paris Agreement, the Mayor today, in coordination with MOS and City agencies, released 1.5°C: Aligning New York City With the Paris Climate Agreement. The plan lists actions the City will take in the next three years to accelerate greenhouse gas (GHG)  reductions and put the city on a path to deep de-carbonization. This is the first Paris Agreement-compliant plan from any city in the world. You can read the full plan online here.

“Big problems require big solutions – and New Yorkers are already hard at work to meet the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Mayor de Blasio. “In the Trump era, cities have to lead the way when it comes to fighting climate change. Hotter summers and powerful storms made worse by climate change are an existential threat to a coastal city like ours, which is why we need to act now.”

The 1.5°C plan aligns local climate actions with a goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees. A 1.5°C degree outcome was agreed to in the Paris Agreement in order to limit the worst impacts of climate change. By implementing the identified prioritized set of actions across energy, transportation, building, and waste sectors by 2020, NYC will enable faster reductions of GHG over the following 30 years than even the already aggressive goals in the City’s 80 x 50 plan – a plan to reduce GHG emissions 80% by 2050. The potential for GHG reduction of all the quantified actions in the report is 10 million metric tons of C02e – or the equivalent of taking more than 2 million cars off the road by 2030.

The release of the citywide action plan, builds on announcements made earlier this month to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings, and expands access to electric vehicle fast chargers in all five boroughs.  Both of these actions are included in the 1.5°C plan.

Other key actions detailed in the plan include: 

  • RECYCLING: Roll out city-wide single stream recycling by 2020; New Yorkers will no longer need to sort their recyclables, dramatically increasing the City’s recycling rate.
  • WASTE: Accelerate the diversion of tons of organics from landfills by expanding the organics program to serve all New Yorkers with curbside or a convenient drop off location by 2018.
  • BUILDINGS: In addition to creating new fossil-fuel targets for existing buildings to meet in 2030, NYC will work to implement advanced energy codes for new buildings in 2019, and very low energy design targets in all new buildings in subsequent energy code cycles.
  • ENERGY: NYC will use its purchasing power to procure 100% renewable electricity for municipal operations as soon as sufficient supply can be brought online. This Fall, the City will be breaking ground on 50 new solar projects on public buildings, which will put the city a quarter of the way to the goal of 100MW of solar on public property by 2025.
  • TRANSPORTATION: NYC will continue the accelerated pace of Select Bus Service implementation, fight for a tax on millionaires to modernize the subway system, and double the number of active cyclists by 2020 through the annual development of at least 50 new miles of bike network (including 10 miles of protected bike lanes). By expanding electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, the City will meet a goal for 20% of new car registrations to be EVs by 2025.
  • CARBON NEUTRALITY: NYC will lead in the development of a global protocol for cities to attain carbon neutrality by 2050 in collaboration with other vanguard cities and partners.

The plan comes less than four months after Mayor de Blasio signed Executive Order 26 committing NYC to the principles of the Paris Agreement, in the face of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the international accord. The order directed city agencies to work with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) to identify the necessary citywide actions each agency needed to take to align NYC with a 1.5°C trajectory. These actions are included in the plan.  To date, the NYC 2016 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory, included in the plan shows a reduction of 15 percent relative to the 2005 baseline.

“In the face of federal inaction on climate change, it is now more important than ever for cities like New York to step up to fulfill the Paris Agreement,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy & Programs and the Chief Resilience Officer in the NYC Mayor’s Office. “This new plan accelerates New York City’s deep decarbonization efforts locally in order to align with the global effort to limit warming to only 1.5°C as outlined in the Paris Agreement, and is the first such city plan in the world to do so.  Thanks to C40 for their support and partnership in achieving this milestone on the path to a more sustainable and resilient city and planet.”

“Reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions is critical to keep the worst impacts of climate change at bay,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “We know this is possible, and we know we have to work faster. The plan released today builds on the ambitious work we’ve already started, and demonstrates how New York City will continue to work aggressively to act locally, even as we think globally to create a healthy and thriving NYC.”

"Tackling climate change and unleashing the potential of a low carbon future requires bold and urgent action. I congratulate Mayor De Blasio on becoming the first of C40's mayors to publish a plan reviewed as compatible with C40's framework to achieve this - Deadline 2020. New York's example will be an inspiration to cities around the world that are equally determined to put the Paris Agreement into action," said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities.

“DOB looks forward to including these standards in the Building Code to help realize the Mayor’s vision of a sustainable city. The city’s current Energy Code requires new buildings to use 50% less energy than ones built before 1980. Now it’s time to push forward on sustainability and do our part to protect future generations,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

"Mayor de Blasio is leading the way towards a more sustainable future. Today’s commitment builds on the City's continuous work to mitigate the impact of climate change, while investing in innovative technologies and policies that strengthens New York City’s position as a global citizen and as a great place to live,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett.

“We no longer have the luxury of time to implement programs that reduce our carbon footprint. DCAS is committing the needed resources to advance high-impact energy efficiency retrofits on an accelerated timeframe,” said DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo. “Executive Order 26 is a call for action and tackling deep energy retrofits for municipal buildings is the next step to achieve the goals of the 1.5 Degree Plan.”

“As the custodian of New York City’s public waterfront, NYC Parks is the city’s first line of defense against increased storm surges and rising seas. Because we see the dangerous effects of climate change up close, we are undertaking holistic changes to our construction, maintenance, equipment, data tracking, and training practices in order to help the City meet the bold and necessary goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

“Thanks to our reliance on public transportation, walking, and cycling, New York City produces the fewest greenhouse gas emissions per capita of any U.S. city,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But we can always do more, and Mayor de Blasio’s refined climate plan brings us in line with the Paris climate accord by expanding sustainable travel choices -- including through electric vehicles, which will boost our efforts to curb fossil fuels.  Given New York City’s status as a leader among world cities, the smart choices we make now about transportation will not only help make New York a safer and more equitable City, they can make a real difference in combating global climate change.”

“Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City of New York is taking bold, decisive action to help achieve the historic goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Our department is supporting this effort by focusing on ways to reduce energy consumption in commercial and residential buildings across the city.  Through our workforce development programs we are training and equipping New Yorkers with the skills they need to make buildings more energy efficient. This is an investment in the future of our people and the future of our world.”

“Achieving our goal of sending zero waste to landfills will dramatically reduce the emissions associated with our waste,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “This report shows that we can’t wait until 2030 or 2050 to take action – we must take aggressive steps today to slash our carbon emissions and build a more sustainable future. I am proud to that New York City is a worldwide leader in both climate policy and sustainable materials management.”

“From hydroelectric facilities at our upstate reservoirs to solar arrays and the reuse of biogas at our wastewater treatment plants, to the largest and most aggressive green infrastructure program in the country, DEP is working to both create energy and at the same time reduce our demand and carbon footprint,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “Moving forward we will continue to explore accepting even more organic waste at our wastewater treatment facilities as the organics recycling program is expanded citywide.”

“Climate change poses major public health risks to New Yorkers – both now and in the future,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The adverse health effects from building and traffic pollution are preventable, and the City’s commitment to the Paris Agreement goal will reduce levels of harmful air pollutants across the city through building energy performance initiatives and sustainable transportation options.”

"As a city, we cannot wait to tackle the potentially devastating effects of climate change," said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. "HPD is proud to partner with our sister agencies to advance this aggressive plan of action to lower the city’s carbon footprint.  We look forward to building on our efforts to achieve greater energy efficiency in the affordable housing stock as we work towards these new milestones, and to helping ensure the quality and sustainability of our city's homes and neighborhoods for future generations."

"NYCHA is an indispensable part of the City's climate plan and we're doing our part to protect future generations and improve the quality of life for the 1 in 14 New Yorkers we serve today," said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. "Climate action is essential to achieving NextGeneration NYCHA's goal of creating safe, clean and connected communities because the burdens of climate change will fall most heavily on low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers."

Commissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena said: “As host to the largest diplomatic community in the world, New York City stands at the intersection of global conversations on addressing climate change. I am proud that with the release of this plan, our City takes the next important step in realizing our commitment to the Paris Agreement.”

“While maintaining our core mission of providing safe and attractive schools for all New York City’s children, and in keeping with the Paris Climate Accord goals set out by the Mayor, the SCA is developing the next generation of schools with the goal of reducing energy consumption by 50% or more,” said Lorraine Grillo, President and CEO of NYCSCA

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said, “Prioritizing our city’s policies to align with the Paris Agreement on Climate shows how important combatting climate change is and demonstrates our city’s cooperation with the global movement to limit its worst effects.  Transitioning municipal power to renewable energy, encouraging sustainable transit, reducing landfill waste, and implementing advanced energy codes will help us reach this goal.  New York City is continuing to be a global leader on sustainability.  Thank you to Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Director Mark Chambers for his important leadership.”

“I applaud this administration for standing up against climate change when our federal government refuses to do so.  I have been happy to work alongside the Department of Sanitation to find solutions to getting to zero waste to landfills by 2030, while also supporting our city’s environmental justice communities.  The expansion of the organics program citywide and the transition to single-stream recycling will help us get there, and are just a small part of the progress that City agencies are making toward creating a sustainable future for all residents,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Chair of the Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee.

"In a time when global goals to reduce the impacts of climate change are under attack, we must continue to step up the plate, take on this challenge, and further our environmental goals," said Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "Together with my colleagues in Council and the administration, we're encouraging New Yorkers to choose greener transportation options by creating dozens miles in bike lanes, installing public electric vehicle charging stations, expanding bike and car share programs, and closing down streets to vehicular traffic with Summer Streets and Car-Free Day. In public transportation, we're always fighting for improved, reliable, and expanded train system and bus service in clean air buses. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and my colleagues in Council for leading us down a greener path."

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said: “Now more than ever, we need to take bold action on climate change. New York City is doing just that. This announcement isn’t just about sending a message to the world about our priorities as a city. It puts New York on the front lines in the battle against global warming in a meaningful way. These are important steps to protect the future of our city – and the planet.”

“It’s our responsibility as one of the world’s great cities to help set an example in tackling global problems, even – and especially – when Washington will not,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I commend the de Blasio Administration for staying true to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and for continuing to take proactive steps to reduce the city’s carbon and waste footprints while increasing our use of renewable energy.”

Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said: "Keeping global temperature rise below the 1.5°C set forth in the Paris Agreement will require focus and innovation. Cities like New York are ideal laboratories for the bold ideas that can get us there. We are pleased that Mayor de Blasio has committed to enacting ambitious policies in every major sector that contributes to emissions. These clear and specific goal posts will create additional momentum to help overcome the challenges in procuring more renewable energy, transitioning to more efficient buildings and transportation modes, and increasing recycling rates."

“New York City is leading the way in the fight against climate change,” said Kit Kennedy, Director, Energy & Transportation Program, at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With the White House doing all it can to roll back progress in moving toward a clean energy future, now more than ever it’s important for local leaders to step up. We look forward to working with the city to put its plan into action and to continue to build on it.”

“This is what climate leadership looks like in America's largest city: cleaner air, lower bills and more jobs,” says Andy Darrell, New York regional director at Environmental Defense Fund. “With electric vehicles, renewable energy and today's smart technology, cities can break our dependence on expensive, polluting fuels and start now to turn the corner in climate change.”


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