New York City 2030. London Today.
On Thursday, as New York City's highest ranking transportation officials argued before City Council that the city's increasing traffic congestion and automobile dependence is "an indication of the vitality and the growth of the city of New York," London's Mayor Ken Livingstone was in Davos, Switzerland announcing that he aims "to make London the world's leading center for research and financial development on climate change." Livingstone said:
Cities produce 75 per cent of global carbon emissions and it is therefore in cities that the battle against climate change will have to be won... Climate change is a tremendous challenge to humanity. But for London it is also a tremendous opportunity. The world is shifting to a new technical and financial system in which we do not produce and waste energy, in the form of carbon, but must conserve it. London has the potential to be at the centre of this shift.
Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer (who happens to be married to New York City's highest ranking transportation official) are also focused on financial systems. They continue to use their clout to press the case that New York City is "losing its leading competitive position" to London and other world cities due to onerous corporate financial regulations. Financial journalist James Surowiecki, in this week's New Yorker, writes that it is difficult to find evidence to back up these claims.
Meanwhile, the evidence that climate change is human-induced and happening much faster than previously thought, is increasingly abundant. But for Bloomberg, Schumer and Weinshall, climate change either is not on the radar at all, or it's an issue to be dealt with far off in the future. So, as Mayor Livingstone positions his city to be a 21st century global leader, New York City's leaders, remarkably, fiddle with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and keep the traffic moving.