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Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

In a speech in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg outlined the long-term challenges posed by severe weather and detailed how the city will tackle them.  Former Vice President Al Gore introduced the Mayor and said, “Among mayors of this nation and this world, he stands out. I don’t know of anybody who has done more.”  Some of the key points from the Mayor’s speech include:

  • New York City cannot solve the problems associated with climate change on its own but can lead the way, as it has been both locally and globally.
  • Since the Mayor launched the nation’s first comprehensive sustainability plan in 2007, PlaNYC, the City’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 16%.  In addition, the City has taken major steps toward adapting to climate change, including through revisions to the building code, adoption of green roofs, and restoration of wetlands.
  • To prepare New York City for future extreme weather events, the Mayor began by directing Deputy Mayors Cas Holloway and Linda Gibbs to conduct an after-action review of preparedness and recovery operations, focusing on how to improve the way the City mobilizes and deploys resources.
  • The Mayor also directed Seth Pinsky, the President of the Economic Development Corporation, to develop comprehensive and concrete action plans in several areas.
  • To accelerate the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the Mayor announced that the city will work with local leaders in hard-hit areas to develop comprehensive community recovery plans, covering everything from public and private housing, to hospitals and schools, to businesses and nonprofits, to community centers and transportation.
  • In addition, the Mayor announced that the City would launch a major new effort to assess what steps need to be taken to prepare every critical infrastructure network – power, heat, gas, telecommunications, transportation, and hospitals – to withstand a Category 2 hurricane and remain operational.  During Hurricane Sandy, all these networks failed – and the Mayor said that all took too long to come back on line.
  • The City has reached out to the CEOs of Con Ed, National Grid, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Hess and others and all have pledged their full support.  As a first step, Con Ed has committed to investing $250 million to significantly harden its electric, gas and steam systems.
  • The Mayor stated that New York, a coastal and harbor city, would not abandon its 520 miles of waterfront, but would instead build smarter and stronger and more sustainable.  As part of that, the Mayor announced that the City would strengthen building code standards for flood protection and add new structural requirements to ensure that buildings can withstand intense waves and wind.
  • New Yorkers have never been shy about taking on big challenges – and taking destiny into their own hands.  The Mayor reiterated that there is no storm – no fire – no terrorist act – that can destroy the spirit of New York City and he will work to keep looking forward and envisioning a better future.

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