Mayor de Blasio’s office has released a detailed breakdown of New York City’s status on its goals of 80×50, the Mayor’s campaign for an 80% reduction in the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Roadmap to 80×50 projects urban policy onto analyses of the market and energy developments of the past decade to describe a realistic plan for New York City to reach its climate goals.
The most important part of the City’s climate future is expanding the renewable energy sources it is already using into more projects around New York State. The benchmark goal 40×30 (to reduce GHG emissions by 40% by 2030) is already well underway: power plants across New York will continue to incorporate natural gas fired turbines throughout the 2010’s and 20’s, incrementally retiring older, inefficient electric plants along the way. Solar energy will become a critical share of the City’s energy portfolio as it grows more competitive with natural gas. Not only has the cost of solar energy been halved over the last decade, but NYC has grown its solar capacity to 39 times what it was in 2005. The City intends to develop group-purchasing and community-shared solar programs in the near future, which will allow solar panels and rooftops to become rentable, sharable assets.
The City also plans to develop the current transportation and building infrastructure into feasible systems that support the city’s climate goals. Last year, de Blasio and the Buildings Technical Working Group developed initiatives to retrofit buildings with advanced heating and cooling fixtures that can cut 33% of their emissions. The city expects these retrofits, matched with improvements to future buildings’ efficiency standards, to reach the emissions reduction goal of the building sector. Expanding public options is the primary way the city can lower its transportation emissions. Expanding select bus service and the bike network, completing the 2nd Ave subway line, and constructing the Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar line are all goals the city has in mind to decrease GHG emissions generated by transportation.
Developing its energy and construction networks are methods the City hopes to use to make clean, sustainable behavior a default setting for most New Yorkers.