Mayor Adams proposed several exciting environmental measures in his State of the City address today.
The New York League of Conservation Voters is thrilled with the announcement of a citywide roll out of the curbside composting program, a longtime NYLCV priority. The measure, which follows a successful pilot program in Queens this past fall, calls for a 20-month timeline to bring composting to all five boroughs.
“We asked and they listened!” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “The New York League of Conservation Voters is thrilled that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Tisch have announced the rollout of a citywide curbside composting program, a major step toward reaching zero-waste. And the proof is positive: in just three months in Queens, curbside composting kept 12.7 million pounds of food waste out of our landfills. Making this program citywide means less greenhouse gasses escaping into the atmosphere and less garbage on the street–good news for the environment, bad news for the rats.”
Another top priority for the League is clean buildings. In 2021, New York City passed a law that requires all new and gut-renovated buildings to have zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions, with a phase-in for different building sizes that starts in 2024. In his address, the mayor reiterated his commitment to reducing building emissions, which is one of the most important measures we can take in the fight against climate change and to improve public health.
Building on the city’s goal of electrifying its entire vehicle fleet–which recently received a major boost from federal funds for electric buses and sanitation vehicles–Mayor Adams announced a plan to electrify for-hire vehicles throughout the city–that’s over 100K vehicles–with Uber and Lyft agreeing to be 100% zero emissions by 2030. He also announced the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the five boroughs, which will encourage drivers to ditch their gas guzzlers for clean fuel transportation.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector is key to fighting climate change, but electric vehicles alone will not get us there. We need to encourage less driving, period, and that is why we support the mayor’s plan to build more housing near transit stations. Too many of the city’s residents–often those in low-income communities and communities of color–live in transit deserts, unable to rely on public transit to navigate the city. And too many of our city’s residents avoid walking and cycling because it’s too risky. By going after dangerous drivers and targeting vehicles that block bus and bike lanes–in addition to expanding the number of protected bike lanes–the city will become more friendly to clean transportation modes.
The mayor touted the city’s alternative energy sector, committing New York City to becoming the “wind power hub of the Eastern seaboard” with the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal soon to become a major offshore wind port. But it’s not only about creating and distributing clean energy. It’s also about creating clean energy jobs and delivering climate justice, and so we applaud the mayor’s proposal of a clean energy employment pipeline, which will help ensure that in our march toward 100% clean energy by 2040, those who have been left behind will instead be lifted up.
Another environmental announcement, a potential green paradigm shift in how we approach the business of government, is the launch of a new climate budgeting process. This means, as the mayor said, that “going forward, the first question we will ask about new programs and investments is, “Will this help meet our climate goals?”
Finally, the mayor announced that we will see more of the city’s sustainability agenda when the mayor releases an updated PlaNYC agenda in April. We are excited that NYLCV President Julie Tighe was tapped by the mayor to serve on NYC’s Climate Advisory Board, which will be instrumental in guiding the city as it develops its next long-term climate strategy.
NYLCV commends Mayor Adams and his administration for making the environment a priority, and we look forward to working with him and the Council this year to ensure the city follows through on these measures and more.