Bloomberg: the architect behind New York’s drastic carbon emission reductions

Bloomberg during the unveiling of New York’s climate plan PlaNYC 2030.
By Anders Lorenzen
As New York City’s new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, prepared to take office 8th of January, his predecessor, outgoing Michael Bloomberg announced that the most populous city in the states had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 19%, showing that his effort to deal with climate change had paid off.

While Bloomberg in his 11 year term has been a strong advocate for tackling climate change, he has voiced the issue more clearly in the last year, after the US East Coast was hit by the superstorm; Hurricane Sandy, with New York being severely hit. The rebuilding of the city is still in progress and will be for many years; even the financing is still being debated, as Democrats and Republicans continue to wrangle over how much should be paid out to the victims of Sandy.

Even though Bloomberg said he had no editorial influence and was unaware of it, the Bloomberg-owned magazine Businessweek printed on the wake of Sandy, on its cover ‘It’s Global Warming Stupid’’. The New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, whose state was also severely hit by Sandy, was not willing to connect the issue to climate change. Politically, Bloomberg had at first been a Democrat, then a Republican, then decided he did not agree with either party enough to be a member, and In his second period as Mayor, he registered as an Independent. Though he disagreed with Obama on many issues, just before the 2012 election he did endorse him, as he thought he would be more likely to take action on climate change than the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

If there is anything Sandy showed it is how vulnerable New York City is to rising water levels, and in June last year Bloomberg announced a $20 billion plan to prepare the city for rising sea levels and hotter summers. The plan included 250 recommendations, ranging from the installation of floodwalls and storm barriers to upgrades of power and telecommunications infrastructures.
New York’s air is now the cleanest that it has been for 50 years, said Sergej Mahnovski, who is the director of the city’s long term planning and sustainability office. He says that the city is on track to make even deeper emissions cuts.
In 2007 Bloomberg launched the climate change blueprint PlaNYC 2030, the goal of which was to reduce emissions to 30% by 2030 via a number of initiatives including hybrid taxi cabs and retrofitting municipal buildings to make them more energy efficient.

But Bloomberg’s visions go beyond New York. As a President of the group C40, which is a coalition of 40 cities worldwide that aim to address the role and possibilities cities have in combatting climate change, he now takes his climate change agenda out of New York, as New Yorkers prepare to find out what their new mayor will do to address the issue that was so important to Bloomberg.
Sub edited by Charlotte Paton
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Categories: AndersLorenzen, Bloomberg, C40

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