Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Climate Change

Climate Change

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    Garbage (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Our trashy story begins with a wartime question: after mass-producing aluminum, steel, and plastics for the military to fight Nazis, what happens when the war is over? What if, instead of reverting to peacetime manufacturing, America could charge ahead, simultaneously creating and fulfilling a civilian “need?”

    The rest is advertising history. Over the course of a few

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    Eric Adams at a climate rally (photo: Office of Eric Adams)


    Earlier this month, Senator Joe Manchin appeared to scuttle the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better bill, which promised to be America’s largest ever investment into clean energy.  Just like that, local governments – which have been shouldering the climate leadership load for the last decade – could be losing their best chance to see active federal investment to avert the climate crisis now underway.

    Luckily, cities like New York are already leading. This

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    Protecting NYC from climate change (photo: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Climate change seriously upped its impact this year in New York City. Hurricane Ida produced historic rainfall and flooding, which triggered flash flood warnings across all five boroughs for the first time ever and caused at least ...

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    The #GasFreeNYC push (photo: @weact4ej)


    It’s hard to wrap one’s head around, but the city’s future existence is in serious danger as more climate pollution spews into the atmosphere. Simply put: with over 500 miles of coastline and the subway and utilities underground, there may be no way for New York City to survive substantially higher sea levels. To save our city, and so many other precious places, every government, worldwide, needs to take action to slash climate pollution. 

    Fortunately, the New York City Council is considering ending gas in

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    Climate change has many impacts (photo: governor's office)


    Several weeks ago, when Hurricane Ida devastated New York, one thing became painfully clear: we are still not prepared for the climate crisis. At least 45 people were killed by the storm in the New York area, many of whom were low-income people

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    A new mom (photo: Edwin J Torres/Mayor's Office)


    While the media has started to connect heat-related deaths to climate change over the past few years, one particularly vulnerable group is too rarely discussed in reporting and not reflected in policy: pregnant people and newborns. As the climate crisis gets worse, we need policies to prevent dangerous outcomes and to undo vast inequities in pregnancy. 

    After centuries of disenfranchisement, many pregnant people of color living in New York City sit at the intersection of systemic racism, health

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    The view from Governors Island (photo: @Gov_Island)


    Governors Island will be open to the public year-round with daily ferry service starting November 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Trust for Governors Island announced on September 28. The 172-acre island in New York Harbor, which was previously only open to the public from May to October, is about to undergo major

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    Gov. Hochul (photo: governor's office)


    We all knew Governor Kathy Hochul would be unique. Simply by virtue of being our state’s first woman executive, she will stand out in history. She entered the office in unfortunate circumstances, not the typical path to New York’s Executive Chamber. But since taking the oath just over a month ago, we’ve seen a governor in action. 

    New York’s 57th governor began her term with a ceremonial swearing in where she wore white, the color of the suffragettes, and noted that “brevity is the hallmark of

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    Coastal resiliency project underway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Update: The City Council approved the Citywide Climate Adaptation Plan legislation on Thursday, October 7.

    After Hurricane Ida once again exposed New York City’s vulnerability to major climate events, the New York City Council is set to pass, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign, a bill that will mandate the creation of a new “citywide climate adaptation plan.”

    The Council will vote on Thursday to approve the legislation, ...

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    The new Brooklyn Bright bike lane (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is putting the final touches on its efforts to combat climate change and create a more sustainable city, with significant short- and long-term challenges at play, major decisions to be made in the mayor’s final months in office, and questions about its policy choices.

    Ben Furnas, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, points to key accomplishments of the last several

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    Mayor de Blasio surveys damage from Ida (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When the long tail of Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall to our region earlier this month, public officials claimed they were blindsided by the damage that resulted. While it’s notoriously difficult to accurately predict rainfall, the devastating societal impacts of the storm were not a surprise to those who follow these issues closely.

    An inundated transit system, flooded homes in lower-income neighborhoods, residents trapped in basement apartments.

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    New York City (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    September 24, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: New York City's Climate and Sustainability Efforts

    Ben Furnas, the director of the mayor's office of climate and sustainability, joined the show to discuss the de Blasio administration's policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable, livable city.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You

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    After Ida (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    September 3, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Hurricane Ida, Climate Change & Where We Go Next in New York

    Three experts joined the show to discuss Hurricane Ida's impact in New York City, climate change, resiliency, policy-making, and where we go next. Guests Maritza Silva-Farrell of ALIGN, Danny Harris of Transportation Alternatives, & Rob Freudenberg of Regional Plan Association shared their thoughts on what's been going wrong and right, and

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    Mayor de Blasio makes a climate announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)


    In 2019, New York City passed some of the most progressive climate legislation in the country. Local Law 97 requires 50,000 large buildings to slash their carbon output en route to cutting emissions 40% by 2030. Yet if the passage of the law suggested that the city would be putting people and the planet before the typical monied powers that be (real estate, the utilities, and others), ...

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    The mayor and schools chancellor at a school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The next Mayor of New York City will need to ensure that communities hit hardest by COVID-19 can not only recover, but achieve greater economic security and prosperity in the future.

    Recovery after covid and the creation of green, healthy schools for all go together.

    As part of the full re-opening of the public school system, city government should prioritize installing HVAC systems and solar energy in every school. Doing so will enhance air

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    Shahana Hanif (photo: @ShahanaFromBK)


    Trash is too often an afterthought. Voters and friends pause when I share my love for recycling, composting, and colorful trash cans. But, as a climate champion endorsed by Sunrise NYC, Resilience PAC, TREEage NYC, and NYC’s chapter of Sierra Club, I know that waste equity is critical to achieving New York City’s climate resiliency goals.

    We need to stop thinking of waste as ‘trash.’ Waste is valuable material; compost is nutritious food for our community gardens’ soil. Over one third of New York City’s waste

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  • Brian Benjamin

    Senator Benjamin (photo: NY Senate)


    As the coronavirus ravaged New York City, it quickly became apparent that its effects were being felt disparately across the boroughs. Black and brown communities that have been the dumping ground for the city’s most-polluting infrastructure, where respiratory illnesses occur at higher rates, were more prone to a pandemic caused by a respiratory virus. The problem of environmental racism is not new, but State Senator Brian Benjamin is hoping that it is finally dire enough to be taken seriously and that, if elected the next New York

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    The current comptroller, Scott Stringer, with Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Perhaps the single most important thing the New York City Comptroller can do to combat climate change is to insist that companies in which we invest our $230 billion of pension money adopt the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure. This year, we will pick a new comptroller. We should insist that all candidates for the job pledge to call on companies to agree to the new reporting

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    Green investments are the future (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    2021 has the potential to be a pivotal year for New Yorkers. Vaccine distribution is underway, and plans are being drafted to rebuild New York’s economy. As state leaders consider how to address the state’s deficit and create a sustainable future, investing in environmental programs is the answer. 

    Environmental programs, such as the Environmental Protection Fund, are proven to aid in state economic recovery, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen local economies while protecting our

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    Lincoln Restler, the author


    With unprecedented environmental catastrophes and more hundred-year storms each passing year, the climate crisis is fully upon us. Our leaders of government and industry have failed to rise to the greatest challenge facing our planet. That abdication of responsibility is inexcusable, but we don’t have time to wait for them to get it together. We need to lead the way. As a City Council candidate, I have a plan to make my district - Brooklyn’s own 33rd - the first carbon neutral district in New York and the United

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  • 5 video brief climate

    Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer & others (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    In this episode, we discuss the issues of climate change and resiliency, and key aspects of what candidates in the 2021 New York City elections are considering as they present their visions for the future of the city, protecting it from the impacts of climate change, fostering a green economy, and more.

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    (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his third of four planned State of the State speeches this week on Wednesday, detailing a strategy to fuel the state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with a green energy infrastructure and jobs program.

    The transition to a green economy is a part of Cuomo’s broader 2021 State of the State agenda that he unveiled on Monday and has elaborated on in subsequent speeches. On Tuesday, he outlined an economic recovery plan that includes a mass rapid testing program to help people

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    Joe Biden with solar panels (photo: Christopher Dilts/Biden for President)


    Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. Global warming and extreme weather are accelerating.

    We need Joe Biden to be the Climate President, especially after the four lost years under  climate-denier Donald Trump. This begins with Biden taking comprehensive executive action on climate change on day one.

    A number of large coalitions (e.g., ClimatePresident.org) have outlined a comprehensive list of executive actions

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    An NYC Green New Deal event (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A coalition of climate-conscious groups is calling on candidates running for citywide and City Council positions in this year’s full slate of city government elections to sign a pledge to create a Green New Deal for New York City, with specific policy proposals.

    The pledge asks that candidates who sign both advocate and vote for Green New Deal policies at the city level. The recommended policies aim to end fossil fuel infrastructure, create more

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  • Kathryn Garcia

    Kathryn Garcia (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Kathryn Garcia is running for mayor chiefly on her city government experience, but she’s also pitching voters on her ideas for the future, and where the two merge: the notion that she has the right plans and can execute them. The city sanitation commissioner for six years until she stepped down to run for mayor, Garcia has also been interim chair of the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, the covid emergency “food czar,” and in other roles under Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom she has sharply criticized early on in her

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