NYC Is Becoming a Leader in Urban Sustainability With These Climate Change Initiatives

New York City is the most populated city in the United States, meaning that it's commitment to tackling the climate crisis is vital to improving the lives of millions of people.

Eva Hagan - Author

Apr. 26 2023, Published 10:31 a.m. ET

People walking across the crosswalk at the intersection of 23rd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.
Source: iStock Photo

New York City is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades, along with the severity of the climate crisis. Therefore making plans and creating infrastructure that maps a sustainable future for all communities in NYC is necessary for a thriving metropolitan future.

Luckily, these NYC climate change initiatives are already making changes to make the city a leader in sustainability.

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Aerial view of Washington Square Park in New York City in the morning.
Source: iStock Photo

According to the NYC Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, the initiative AdaptNYC is a plan that acknowledges the immediate threat of climate change by identifying the greatest hazards to the city, the people most at risk, and how the city can improve resiliency with efforts to improve infrastructure and property to protect its citizens.

The adaptation measures that the city plans to take on the website is extensive, with a list of general citywide plans, to plans for extreme heat adaptation, extreme rainfall adaptation, coastal flood adaptation, and social resilience.

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Governor Kathy Hochul's Agenda

New York Governor Kathy Hochul walking in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17, 2022.
Source: iStock Photo

In her State of the State address given in January 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul laid out her agenda for 2022 and goals for years to come. Among the myriad of proposals to improve the health and environment of New York, her agenda helps the city move forward with Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), and get New York carbon neutral by 2050, per the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Some of the major goals of the address include achieving sustainable electricity generation and supporting more EV buses, chargers, and public transit to reduce road congestion, per the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)

Clean Air Electric Bus driving in city.
Source: iStock Photo

As mentioned in the previous section, the CLCPA, also known as the Climate Act, was implemented in 2019 in New York. It is a law with the goal of tackling climate change and a transition to greener resources and practices with a special focus on helping underserved communities, per New York State.

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According to the EPA, this is "among the most ambitious climate laws in the nation." To list some of its components, the Climate Act calls for the creation of family-sustaining jobs, the goal that 35-40 percent of all clean energy investments go to at-risk communities, that 70 percent of energy will be renewable by 2030, and the state will be carbon neutral by 2050.

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EPA's Innovative Climate Projects in NYC

An aerial view of traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in New York City.
Source: iStock Photo

In March of this year, the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its plans to give three million dollars to the state of New York for projects to reduce pollution and build infrastructure for a clean energy industry.

This grant comes from the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program (CPRG), created to give funds and support to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for climate planning projects, per the EPA.

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A person commuting on a bike in New York City.
Source: iStock Photo

Created in 2015, this is the plan for the future and development of New York City. The state government calls it the "blueprint for the future" with yearly progress reports updating the goals centered around growth, equity, sustainability, and resiliency. The yearly reports are split into sections like "vibrant democracy," "inclusive economy, "livable climate," and list the city's achievements to date, as well as milestones they want to complete.

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By 2050, OneNYC2050 wants the city to no longer rely on fossil fuels and cars, to provide residents with secure living situations and an economy that allows an opportunity for all, and that quality health care is guaranteed for every New Yorker, per New York State.

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