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September 21, 2014- The NYT reports, “In a sweeping effort to reduce its environmental impact, New York City is planning to overhaul the energy-efficiency standards of all its public buildings and to pressure private landlords to make similar improvements.
The initiative is part of a pledge, to be announced before the start of the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels. The United Nations has pointed to that rate of decrease as a desired target for developed countries to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Global warming was much more of an abstraction to New York City until two years ago,” Mr. de Blasio said in an interview on Friday, alluding to Hurricane Sandy, which in 2012 caused 44 deaths and resulted in $19 billion of damage to the city. “There’s a moral imperative to act.”
Over the last several years, and particularly since Hurricane Sandy, the city has aimed to protect itself better from extreme weather. Months before leaving office, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, an independent, proposed a $20 billion storm protection plan for a sprawling network of flood walls, levees and bulkheads, among other initiatives — a vision that Mr. de Blasio has largely moved to adopt and expand. The Bloomberg administration also published a report last December discussing strategies to further reduce emissions by 2050, many of which are included in the city’s latest plan.
Boston, San Francisco and Stockholm are among cities that have made similar commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, who plans to participate in the People’s Climate March in Manhattan on Sunday, predicted his program would prompt other cities to follow. “We know when New York City acts, it helps move policy in other places,” he said.”