Good news, New York! We are on track to hit the PlaNYC goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017! Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement yesterday as he kicked off Climate Week. Our GHG levels are 12 percent below the 2005 baseline, and they’ve been lowered nearly 5 percent in the last fiscal year alone. The mayor outlined several of the city’s successes that lead to this, including the planting of nearly 500,000 new trees, passing a landmark green buildings law, and installing 250,000 lower-watt traffic and street lights.
Another major success came from improving the capture of methane at city wastewater treatment plants. Methane has a warming capability 20 times greater than carbon, and in the last year alone, the city has cut methane emissions by 15 percent. MillionTreesNYC is halfway towards its goal of planting one million new trees, and the new traffic and street lights use 25 percent less power than their predecessors. Ongoing work continues to be made in using rooftops and old landfills for renewable energy production.
What’s particularly encouraging about these statistics is that we’ve reduced our emissions and energy consumption despite the fact that we’ve been experiencing first hand just what a warmer planet means for our city — in particular, extremely high temperatures these past two summers. If we can make progress while dealing with hotter and more extreme weather, then we are well on our way to becoming a greater, greener city.