New York City Tallies Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York (April 11, 2007)- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday released the first comprehensive inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City’s history and announced that New York will host mayors from large cities around the world at a C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in May.

“You can no longer deny the science and bury your head in the sand,” said the mayor. “Climate change is real, and by looking at where and how we are contributing to that problem, we can identify how to reduce our emissions and create a better future for our children and grandchildren.”
The inventory will serve as the benchmark for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent between now and 2030, a target Mayor Bloomberg set during a speech last December. “By undertaking the most comprehensive, detailed inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in US history, and establishing a very clear target for reductions, we will lead by example in fighting global warming,” the mayor said.
Specific plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to targeted levels will be detailed in a policy speech scheduled for later this month that is expected to address New York City’s expanding population. With a current population of 8.2 million people, New York is estimated to grow by one million residents between now and 2030.
New York’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory was completed as part of the Cities for Climate Protection campaign undertaken by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Based in Toronto, Canada the organization was founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI.
New York is one of 750 cities participating internationally in the Cities for Climate Protection campaign, including 240 U.S. cities.
The report on New York’s greenhouse gas emissions breaks down emissions into two separate inventories – those produced by New York City as a whole and those produced from city government operations.
The analysis shows that citywide carbon dioxide equivalent, CO2e, emissions were approximately 58 million metric tons in 2005, with 79 percent coming from buildings.
New York’s carbon emissions were approximately one percent of 2005 U.S. totals, and less than a third of the average U.S. per capita level.
Citywide emissions have increased by about eight percent in the last 10 years, and are on trend to increase 25 percent above 2005 levels by 2030.
City government CO2 emissions were 3.8 million metric tons in 2006, with 64 percent coming from buildings owned by the city.
City government emissions increased by 15 percent from 1995 to 2001. Still, government emissions have remained stable over the last five years, and are on trend to remain so through 2017, despite background growth in electricity use.
“We applaud New York City for the completion of their greenhouse gas inventory, the most comprehensive ever completed by a U.S. city, which builds on the tremendous progress the city has already made towards climate protection,” said Michelle Wyman, executive cirector of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.
“The biggest city in the U.S. is also one of the leaders in local climate action, earning the nickname the Big Green Apple,” joked Wyman. “New York City has demonstrated that we can turn the problem of global warming into profitable solutions that also make our communities cleaner, better places to live.”
The inventory found that actions taken by the city from 1995 to 2006 resulted in the avoided emission of 446,000 metric tons of CO2e per year.
The past actions include an agreement between the city and the New York Power Authority that provides financing for energy efficiency projects in city buildings, the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the city’s fleet, landfill methane recovery, and the conversion of traffic signals to LEDs.
Additional actions taken between 2006 and 2017 are projected to result in annual avoided emissions of 404,000 metric tons by 2017.
Future plans to further reduce CO2e emissions include the switch from truck to barge and rail for the hauling of solid waste out of the city as part of the Solid Waste Management Program enacted in 2005; the city’s green buildings law also passed in 2005; the energy efficient products procurement law, and increased street tree planting citywide.
“Global warming is, without a doubt, the most pressing environmental issue of our time and it is clear that urgent action by all levels of government is necessary to avert its catastrophic consequences,” said Councilman James Gennaro.
Mayors and delegations from cities around the world will gather in New York May 14 to 17 for the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit, convened to promote the role of cities in reducing carbon emissions and reversing global climate change.
The Clinton Climate Initiative, the Partnership for New York City and NYC Global Partners, Inc. are organizing the event on behalf of the Bloomberg administration and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group. Former President Bill Clinton will be a keynote speaker at the Summit.
Mayor Bloomberg will welcome mayors from more than 30 of the world’s largest cities, including London, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Moscow and Istanbul.
Private sector companies will also be represented through sponsorship of sessions and events, and the attendance of their CEOs. These companies include: JP Morgan Chase & Co., Alcoa, Deutsche Bank, the Hearst Corporation, the Shell Oil Company, Siemens, Time Warner, BSKYB, Citigroup, Con Edison, Federated Department Stores, General Electric, Keyspan, KPMG LLP, Swiss Re, and Tishman Speyer.
Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, “The Climate Summit will showcase the important role that New York City’s international business community is playing around the world to help cities make the most of the economic development opportunities associated with cleaner and greener business practices.”
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