In an article posted recently on InsideClimate News, journalist Maria Galluci asks a key question: how does Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio plan to build on the extensive foundation of climate resiliency policies created by outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council?
New York last week was one of 33 cities worldwide selected to participate in the first round of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network. The initiative grants cities undetermined portions of a $100 million pot of money for hiring a “chief resilience officer” and developing long-term resiliency plans to assess and tackle risks they face from climate and other disasters.
New York is ahead of the curve on both issues. It already has a director of resiliency in the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, as well as a comprehensive strategy in its Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR)—a $19.5 billion plan unveiled in June in response to Superstorm Sandy. The plan includes 257 initiatives spread across the city, about one-quarter of which could be completed before Bloomberg leaves office.
The Rockefeller support could help New York implement the rest of the plan and cement the city’s reputation for being at the forefront of climate action.
But all that is essentially up to Mayor-elect de Blasio, and it remains uncertain whether his administration will keep climate change at the top of the agenda. The keys to Bloomberg’s success in developing a comprehensive climate strategy included his constant, outspoken support for global warming action and his administration’s nonstop consultation with the city’s top scientists, experts and environmental organizations.