2007-11-08 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

Ensuring A Greener, Greater Future For Our City

When it comes to combating climate change, city government has a duty to lead the way. That's why last week, I signed an Executive Order- which has the force of City law- instructing City agencies to reduce their discharge of carbon dioxide by 30 percent, or more than a million metric tons a year, by 2017. That greenhouse gas reduction will put New York in the forefront of cities around the world fighting global warming.

Here are the immediate steps we're taking to reduce the city's "carbon footprint." Between now and next July, we'll invest $80 million in City funds - equivalent to roughly 10 percent of city government's annual energy costs - in steps to decrease energy consumption and increase energy efficiency; investments on a similar scale are expected in the years to come. Because buildings account for nearly two-thirds of city government's greenhouse gas discharges, a big focus will be on upgrading their existing mechanical and electrical systems- putting in more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting, and boilers. City agencies will also continue to make their vehicle fleets "greener."

Because of the energy savings they'll produce, these investments will pay off economically as well as environmentally for every New Yorker. I've named a steering committee of high-level City officials- chaired by Deputy Mayor for Administration Ed Skyler- to oversee implementation of this Executive Order, and to develop long- and short-term strategies for making its goals a reality.

Now, the truth of the matter is that because of factors like our heavy reliance on mass transit, New York is already America's most environmentally-friendly city.

In fact, the average New Yorker produces only a small fraction of the carbon dioxide that people in the rest of the nation do. While that's good news, we need to do even better, especially because of our city's rapidly growing population. We're on course to add nearly one million people by the year 2030, and if we don't take aggressive steps now to shrink our carbon footprint, the rise in energy use by our growing city will dramatically increase our carbon dioxide discharges. To prevent global warming, our goal is to cut carbon production by everyone who lives and works in the five boroughs by 30 percent by 2030. That's a very ambitious target, but it's one that, for the sake of the children who will inherit this world, we have to aim for- and that's why City government is taking the lead today.

Fighting climate change is a major goal of "PlaNYC"- our vision for keeping New York economically and environmentally sound in the years to come. It's been six months since we released PlaNYC, so last week we also put out a scorecard updating our progress on it. I'm proud to report that we've already begun work on more than 80 percent of PlaNYC's 127 initiatives, which range from making the city's yellow taxis green by converting them to hybrid power, to planting one million new trees in all five boroughs over the next ten years. Go to the City's web site at nyc.gov to look at the full scorecard, and to read our new Executive Order; they show what we're doing to ensure a greater, greener future for the city we love.

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