Spotlight on PlaNYC: Five Years of Progress

This past Sunday, Earth Day, C40 Chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg used his weekly radio address to update New Yorkers on the progress that had been made since PlaNYC – the city’s blueprint for sustainability and climate change adaptation – was instituted five years ago.

Mayor Bloomberg highlighted various achievements of the plan, including:

  • More green space for both ecological protection and recreation
  • Enhanced and varied transportation options from bike lanes to select bus service routes
  • New efforts to generate clean energy via wind, solar and even municipal waste
  • Energy efficiency benchmarking by more than 8,000 privately owned buildings (and an additional 3,000 owned by the city), which will give owners insight into energy use and savings; and
  • Storm water management through green infrastructure projects such as tree pits and porous paving.

Each of these accomplishments, though laudable independently, together are critically important for a city adapting to a changing climate. On April 19th, Adam Freed, Deputy Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability described PlaNYC’s contribution to climate resilience when he testified before a United States Senate hearing on how rising sea levels already are and will continue to impact domestic infrastructure. In his testimony, Adam also pointed out that climate change impacts on cities have ripple effects throughout entire countries:

“The consequences of sea level rise on New York City have national significance. The city is the hub of the largest regional economy in the U.S., generating over $600 billion a year – 4% of our nation’s GDP. New York Harbor is home to the nation’s second and third-largest trade gateways, handling over $350 billion in imports and exports… Thus, sea level rise impacts in New York, if not addressed, could have a significant ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy."

You can read the entire PlaNYC Progress Report for 2012 here.