New York City demonstrates progress in lowering carbon emissions

The City of New York has pledged to cut GHG emissions from municipal sources by 30% of 2006 levels by 2017. That was a very aggressive target when it was launched in 2007. Much of this reduction is expected to be achieved through enhanced energy efficiency in more than 4,000 municipally-owned buildings. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also challenged the private and institutional sectors to match the 30X17 goal and voluntarily reduce their GHG emissions, measured, sensibly in GallonDaily’s opinion, as emissions intensity per square foot or per person, by 30 percent over 10 years.

Mayor Bloomberg announced last week that ten major private sector employers in New York City have also signed up for the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge. The companies are American International Group, BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Google, JetBlue Airways, JPMorgan Chase, and PVH, a major apparel company with brands such as  Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Izod, Arrow, G. H. Bass and Geoffrey Beene.

As regular readers will know, GallonDaily is generally not very impressed by commitments and promises. Actual achievements are of much greater interest. However, the NYC Mayor’s Carbon Challenge is already demonstrating that initiatives of this kind can produce impressive results. The Carbon Challenge’s 17 participating universities have, in the last three years, measured an overall reduction of nearly 13 percent in GHG emissions and the eleven largest hospital systems have measured an average reduction of 6 percent of emissions. Four of the universities and one of the hospitals have already met their 30% carbon reduction goals.

GallonDaily commends the New York City approach to other municipalities. Taking the lead itself, and with a matching challenge to the private and non-profit sector, New York is showing that climate change can be addressed, at least to a significant extent, without a huge cost to the economy and without punitive regulations.

The announcement of companies joining the New York City Mayor’s Carbon Challenge is at http://www.nyc.gov/html/index.html

More on the success to date of the carbon challenge, and links to much more information about the Carbon Challenge, can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/initiatives/carbon.shtml

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