Uncool New York: NYC Lags in Combatting Climate Change

Chris Smith has an outstanding story in this week’s New York Magazine pointing out that New York City has fallen behind other world cities in addressing climate change and challenging the Bloomberg Administration to do more. An excerpt:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been cruising through his second term. At this point, with a gaudy approval rating, Bloomberg should be willing to risk his popularity on behalf of a life-and-death subject. But on global warming, Bloomberg has so far been more gesture than guts.

It is only now, five years into his reign, that Bloomberg has started considering the broader changes that could bring striking improvements, and that might inflict short-term political pain. In December, he raised the stakes at a flashy press conference in Flushing Meadows, introducing his "sustainability" agenda for the city through 2030. The speech was long on meritorious goals and almost completely free of specifics. Those are supposed to arrive in March or April.

The mayor’s sustainability brain trust is headed by Rohit Aggarwala, an academic expert in city history who was working as a management consultant at the ubiquitous McKinsey & Co. before being hired by Dan Doctoroff. The task force is mulling anti-car ideas that could stir serious rage, like shrinking the number of parking spaces in Manhattan. But Bloomberg punted on congestion pricing, which would have cut traffic and pollution, because he considers it politically impractical, and he’s far more likely to pursue technocratic and financial avenues.

  • I think that shrinking the number of parking spaces is a reasonable idea. Equally reasonable would be doing away with the parking decals that allow city government workers (including off duty police officers) to park wherever they like. If these people (who make up a sizable percentage of the NYC driving population) weren’t blessed with free parking passes, they’d be much more likely to take public transportation. I have nothing against police officers parking wherever they need to when a crisis is at hand. I do, however, have a problem with city workers parking wherever they like, just because they can. This is unfair.

    Erik Feder
    “The Parking Expert”

  • gecko

    The conservative misinformation campaign describing current weather extremes as part of “normal” weather trends rather than caused by global warming has been very effective diffusing what should be the appropriate sense of urgency in response to the ongoing and extremely grave situation; business as usual as the big lies continue.

    Like that fellow who recently sheltered a man from an oncoming subway train, we can only hope that Bloomberg becomes one of a pantheon of well-positioned heroic leaders working to mitigate the oncoming global train wreck caused by climate change.

    Running New York is trivial in comparison.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/downloads/pdf/greenyc_climate-change.pdf

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