In conjunction with Climate Week NYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that NYC was well on its way to meeting the commitments of the four-year-old PLaNYC. Mayor Bloomberg said that, “We cut City government’s greenhouse gas emissions 4.6 percent during the 12 months ending June 30th, compared to the previous fiscal year. That keeps us on course to hitting our 2017 goal.”
That 2017 goal as defined in PlanNYC is a carbon footprint reduction of 30 percent by 2017 against a 2005 baseline. Overall, the City seeks to reduce its total GHG emissions by more than 30 percent by 2030 using the same 2005 baseline.
“With the stakes as high as they are, just doing nothing is no option,” stated Mayor Bloomberg in highlighting the efforts of New York City to date and the targets yet to be achieved.
To achieve these objectives the City has relamped more than 250 000 traffic signals and street lights with low wattage lighting and LED alternatives. The lighting changes alone have resulted in a 25 percent reduction in energy consumption. Methane emissions at wastewater treatment plants have been reduced by 15 percent through capture initiatives.
If New York City looks a little greener it could be due to the near half million trees planted that suck up and store CO2. The City expects to plant another half million trees to meet its PlaNYC target of one million newly planted trees in New York City.
The PlaNYC Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions September 2011 update also notes that citywide GHG emissions were 1.1 percent lower in 2010 from 2009 due to energy efficiency efforts in electric use, steam generation and cleaner, imported hydro-electric energy.
“We’ve also passed a landmark ‘green buildings’ law that will cut energy costs and create up to 17,000 new jobs for New Yorkers,” Bloomberg added with regards to the 2009 Greener, Greater Buildings Plan that is one of the most comprehensive environmental plans in the country.
The legislation also closed a loophole that had developers and building owners skirting around energy efficiency components to their buildings and plans. Due to its footprint New York City buildings account for approximately three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Plan states that, “By focusing primarily on 16,000 of the city’s largest properties, which constitute roughly half of citywide square footage and 45 percent of citywide greenhouse gas emissions, the Greener Greater Buildings Plan will result in an emissions reduction of almost five percent. It will also reduce citywide energy costs by $700 million annually by 2030.”