In a move meant to streamline the city’s climate change policies and sustainability initiatives, Mayor de Blasio has combined the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability with the Office of Environmental Coordination to create New York City’s new Office of Sustainability. The new department will be led by Nilda Mesa, current head of the Office of Environmental Coordination and a well-known proponent of climate change action.


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Mesa has a long history working with sustainability issues, previously as a Clinton appointee to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and implementing legislation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s counsel to the NAFTA task force. Before her official appointment this week, Mesa was most recently Columbia University’s chief sustainability officer. According to an administrative email obtained by Capital NY, Mesa was hired to “shape this administration’s response to important environmental review procedures and policies, including preparation and oversight of environmental reviews on behalf of the Office of the Mayor.”

Related: Where Does New NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Stand on Environmental Issues?

The combination of the two climate change departments and Mesa’s appointment comes just two months after the mayor announced an ambitious goal of cutting NYC’s 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 80 percent by 2050.

“We owe it to our kids to do right by them and rather than pay later, look at what it is we need to do for the long-term health of the city and its citizens,” Mesa said in an interview on Tuesday. “This is a vision for a New York that is sustainable on a larger scale than has been imagined before for any other city.”

Via Capital New York