City to expand renewable energy generation, improve efficiency of builds, transition to electric vehicles and improve waste management to cut emissions
New York City has set out a plan to accelerates its pace of decarbonization in order to meet its emissions reduction target, as the metropolis prepares for a daunting sea level rise due to climate change.
The proposals state that New York must accelerate efforts to expand renewable energy generation, improve the energy efficiency of buildings, transition to electric vehicles and improve waste management in order to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, based on 2005 levels.
The city has already lowered its emissions by 14% and is set to almost treble this reduction by 2030, but the road map warns that these efforts were not sufficient to and we must continue to do more to reduce emissions in New York City and lead progression across the globe if we are all to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: Locally, we have continued to drive down our emissions, but we have much more to do.
New York is set to be increasingly challenged by sea level rises caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the ocean as the planet warms. By 2100, sea level could be up to 50 inches higher than today in New York, a scenario that has inspired the city to pledge billions of dollars for deluge defenses and adaptation. Still, high-value property in Manhattan is considered a long-term risk, with some scientists believing that a managed retreat from parts of the city is inevitable.
The plan states that work on many fronts will be required to lower emissions, as retrofitting houses or even a altogether renewable-based energy grid wont be enough by themselves to meet the target.
Its all incredibly challenging, said Daniel Zarrilli, New York citys chief resilience officer. Its not so much a technology challenge, its more of a fiscal and even societal challenge of how we use energy. Residents need to push governments to go farther but there are things they can do. It starts with awareness of how we use energy and our garbage stream.
The report lays out a strategy of increasing direct and indirect investing in large-scale renewables, building upgrades, incentives for electric vehicles, policies designed to encouraging walk-to and cycling and a goal of reducing waste going into landfill sites.
While New York has already made progress in areas such as build increasing energy efficiency, a key ongoing challenge is likely to be energy generation. New York nation is winding down its nuclear capability, which provides a third of New York Citys power, requiring a sharp uptake in renewables. Last year the country produced 242 MW of solar electric capability but that will need to hit 1,000 MW by 2030.
All of this road map is quite feasible but the big issues are around the future of power generation, said Columbia University academic Jeffrey Sachs, who is an adviser to the city.
We need to have a business model around power that includes wind and solar and a massive scale up of hydroelectric from Canada. That hasnt been worked out yet , nor has the roll out of electric vehicles. This will take decades to do but nonetheless something we need to rushing in order to be successful.
Sachs said New York was a leader within the US on cutting emissions but that some overseas cities were even more ambitious. Within the C4 0 alliance of climate-concerned cities, of which New York is a member, Copenhagen is aiming to get to zero net emissions by 2025 and Stockholm is planning to reach the same goal by 2040.
Such articles was revised on 28 September 2016 to indicate New York City has lowered emissions by 14% , not 12% as the Guardian was informed previously