As the largest city in the United States and a hub of the global economy, New York City has the potential to lead the fight against climate change. Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, which outlines some of the most ambitious climate goals in the country, seeks to make NYC the most resilient, sustainable, and equitable city in the world.
The plan—which was first released in 2015, and has since been updated—commits the city to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050. Known as 80×50, the plan targets the building, energy, waste, and transportation sectors.
While the city has taken some steps to reduce emissions, they have only decreased 15% since 2005. The following chart shows GHG emission reductions by sector since 2005:
Despite the city’s slow progress to date, there are reasons to be hopeful. In April 2019, the City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act: a package of bills designed to drastically reduce GHG emissions from buildings, the largest source of GHG emissions citywide.
As an organization committed to fighting climate change and holding elected leaders accountable to their promises on the environment, the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF) created the NYC Climate Action Tracker to follow the city’s progress on a selection of indicators and initiatives from the original OneNYC plan. Scroll down to find out how the city is doing.
The city originally used the In-Season Commuter Cycling Index for this indicator, but has since stopped using it. However, according to the NYC Department of Transportation, cycling increased 55% between 2012 and 2017.
In April 2020, the city temporarily suspended organics collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the suspension, while some neighborhoods had the option to enroll in curbside collection, the programs did not serve all New Yorkers.