Michael Bloomberg has been the Mayor of New York City since January of 2002. One of the biggest domestic issues that Mayor Bloomberg has been dealing with is New York’s role in preserving the environment and global warming. Aside from motivating his own city, Mayor Bloomberg has been instrumental in motivating a number of other large cities to make changes. He has talked a lot about how he would fight climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide emissions, using efficient, clean fuels, and encouraging the use of public transportation.
1) Extension of Compliance Deadline for Energy Benchmark Laws. Recently, Mayor Bloomberg created a new energy benchmark law whereby commercial and residential buildings that take up more than 50,000 square feet need to benchmark their total water and energy consumption. This is in an effort to see how much is used and how water consumption can be decreased and how buildings can become more energy efficient. There are penalties associated with the law if these buildings do not comply with these laws.
2) PlanNYC. Created by Mayor Bloomberg in 2007, PlanNYC is an unprecedented effort to prepare New York City for the addition of one million residents to the city, strengthen the city’s economy, combat climate change in the city, and enhance the overall quality of life for every since resident of New York City. The plan brings together more than 25 different city agencies to work toward the shared goal of creating a greener New York City. Since its inception, hundreds of acres consisting of new parklands have been created and existing parks have been improved. PlanNYC also increased public transportation throughout the whole city and have created a number of ambitious laws to make all current buildings much more energy efficient. Four years after PlanNYC was created, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced to 13 percent below 2005 levels.
3) Bloomberg Champions for Solar Panels and Green Loans. Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan to build solar panels along city landfills as well as the creation of city run nonprofit to assist building owners fund green upgrades. According to Bloomberg aides, the solar panels would accommodate approximately 50 megawatts of solar panel and will be good for energy generation in the summer when the demand for electricity reaches a peak. The other project for green loans is to help building owners retrofit their buildings and make them more energy efficient. The nonprofit corporation will provide loans to these building owners through private lenders as well as money from federal stimulus funds.
4) Bloomberg Assumes Title Cole of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. In November 2010, Bloomberg was elected to chair the international C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. C40 is an association of a number of major cities committed to carbon emission reduction and slowing down climate change. Cities participating in C40 have created new innovations that will reduce carbon emissions. In New York, Bloomberg created PlanNYC to improve transit service, conserve energy, and implement a number of other initiatives to get to the goal of reduction greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
5) 2007 Earth Day Plans. In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg introduced a number of plans to reduce the overall strain on natural resources including land, air and water. The proposal called for creating a more energy efficient city, including rebuilding water mains that are aging, supporting mass transit, putting a limit on vehicular congestion and developing more energy efficient buildings. The United Nations Director of Sustainable Development, JoAnne DiSano said that, “This is exactly the type of initiative that we would like more cities and communities to undertake…Real development has to allow for economic growth and social development in an environmentally balanced way. We are strongly encouraged by this proposal.”
6) NYC Green Infrastructure Plan. In September of 2010, Bloomberg researched the new NYC Green Infrastructure Plan. This plan presents a new approach to improving the water quality in New York City by integrating green infrastructure, including green roofs and swales, with numerous investments aimed at optimizing the current system as well as build cost effective, targeted traditional infrastructure. This plan lines up with Bloomberg’s umbrella PlanNYC.
7) Looking at the Green Points of Bloomberg’s State of the City Address. In Bloomberg’s January State of the City Address, he discussed a number of new initiatives that will be implemented to creating a further “green city” and sustainable future. Some plans including expanding renovations on Governor’s Island in an effort to revamp the land into a fun, vibrant park, and a new ferry service that will create a more sustainable type of transportation between the different New York City boroughs. Bloomberg is also looking to develop Hunts Point Landing by turning abandoned dead end streets into beautiful, new green spaces, including a fishing pier.
8 ) The NYPD Goes Green. The NYPD is getting a green makeover with the new inclusion of Nissan Altima Hybrids as part of the police force. In 2009, the NYPD got 40 Nissan Altima Hybrids for use on active duty. 22 of these cars will be utilized as unmarked patrol cars. These cars were assigned to locations in New York City where fuel efficiency presents multiple environmental and economic benefits – namely precincts that have large coverage area and small precincts that have heavy stop and go traffic. The new cars were partially funded by the Energy Conservation Steering Committee. “These new patrol cars will help fulfill the PlaNYC goal of reducing City government’s carbon footprint,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through savings in fuel, these Altimas can quickly cover their additional cost, from then they will save taxpayers money – another example of how going green is good for our environment and our pocketbooks.”
9) MillionTreesNYC. A PlanNYC initiative, MillionTreesNYC is a public-private, citywide program that has one main, ambitious objective – plan and core for one million brand new trees throughout all of New York City’s five boroughs over the next ten years. By planting one million trees in New York City, the city will be able to increase the urban forest, seen as the most important environmental asset. The one million trees will include park trees, street trees, and trees throughout commercial, public, and private land. 60 percent of the trees in public spaces, including parks and the remaining 40 percent will be done by community organizations, private organizations, and homeowners. The trees will clean air and reduce pollutants around the city and encourage city revitalization.
10) Placing Ocean Wind Power Station at Statue of Liberty and Other Ideas. In 2008, Mayor Bloomberg called for different ideas on how to further create renewable power throughout the city, including wind turbines on skyscrapers, offshore wind, increased solar, and hydropower coming from the East and Hudson Rivers. Bloomberg is especially pushing for offshore wind because that technology would be able to meet approximately 10 percent of the electricity need in just ten years. As Mayor Bloomberg said, “I think it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean wind farm.”
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org