Click here to download NYC’s roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050
Climate change is an existential threat to our city, our country, and our planet. With the signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, 195 nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to limit global temperature increase to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Agreement also recognizes the need to curb warming even further, and urges nations to drive emissions reduction efforts to limit global temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To reach these ambitious but necessary targets, developed countries will have to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50).
In September 2014, New York City committed to 80 x 50, with an interim target to reduce emissions 40 percent by 2030 (40 x 30), joining the world’s leading cities in doing our part to reduce our contributions to catastrophic climate change. Achieving this goal requires significant reductions in emissions produced by the city’s energy supply, buildings, transportation, and solid waste.
The City committed billions of dollars to reduce its carbon footprint with investments in energy efficiency for municipal buildings. We also released One New York: the Plan for A Strong and Just City (OneNYC) in April 2015, laying the blueprint for inclusive climate action for all New Yorkers across four key visions of Growth, Equity, Sustainability, and Resiliency. In OneNYC, we reaffirmed our commitment to 80 x 50 with new investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and solid waste management that help improve air quality across the city and catalyze an important shift away from carbon-intensive sources of energy.
To determine a pathway to achieving 80 x 50, the City conducted an integrated analysis to examine the maximum potential GHG reductions from the energy, buildings, transportation, and waste sectors. The results of this analysis were released in September 2016 in New York City’s Roadmap to 80 x 50, a comprehensive report based on the best available science and state-of-the-art GHG emissions modeling to assess what will be necessary to reach 80 x 50. The analysis found that with the commitments in OneNYC and related efforts, the City is already implementing policies and programs that will significantly reduce GHG emissions. These initiatives, once fully realized, along with existing state and federal level policies and market trends, put the City on track to achieve an interim target of a 40 percent reduction by 2030 (40 x 30). The City’s analysis also shows that the projected impact of these efforts will make it possible to bend the curve on GHG emissions; however, these efforts alone are not enough to reach 80 x 50. We must continue to do more to reduce emissions in New York City and lead progress across the globe in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
We now know that to achieve 80 x 50 the City must accelerate efforts to:
Climate change is perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades.
The technologies necessary to shift away from fossil fuels and reduce waste-related emissions exist; however, bold action is necessary from all levels of government and the private sector to make the investments, develop new regulatory frameworks, and drive institutional and societal changes necessary to achieve 80 x 50. Making our city more sustainable and resilient is not only an important and necessary response to climate change. It also represents a shift in the way we live now and into the future.