New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability

At a Glance

Industry

Government/Public Administration

Project Type

Year

2015

Location

New York, NY

Summary

Jessica Newman helped the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability advance Mayor de Blasio’s goal of reducing NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Goals

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) engaged Jessica Newman to develop an inclusive process for creating 2050 greenhouse gas action plans for the power and transportation sectors. An action plan describes and ranks viable strategies for reducing carbon emissions in a given sector, including the magnitude of emissions reduction, important co-benefits (e.g., resiliency or air quality improvements) and implementation risks. MOS had begun greenhouse gas action planning for the buildings sector and was ready to move forward with the others. . Action plans could help the City meet its goal to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050, which is part of One New York: The Plan for A Strong and Just City.

Solutions

Creating an action plan process for the power and transportation sectors required knowledge of New York City agencies and policies, state agencies and existing policies, state regulatory proceedings, technical issues and activities in other sectors. Newman spent her first few weeks getting up to speed on the intricacies of the power and transportation sectors within the New York City context, teasing out the underlying assumptions of past greenhouse gas work, meeting relevant City employees across agencies and learning about the ongoing action planning work in the buildings sector. At the same time, she scheduled interviews with sustainability directors from 20 cities around the world. It was important to understand what other comparable cities had done to increase the share of renewables in their energy supply and drive transportation mode shift.

During the last half of her fellowship, Newman synthesized her research into a set of deliverables that laid out the process for creating the power and transportation action plans. The action plans have three key actors: a central manager in MOS, a technical stakeholder group to suggest and vet strategies and a technical consultant to deeply analyze the different strategies. A process deck outlined the approach, actors, budget and timeline. Newman also created an extensive list of technical stakeholder options as well as scopes of reference for required consultants.

Potential Impact

Implementation of the power and transportation action plan processes is expected to begin fall 2015, and ultimately play a key role in reducing New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, along with other initiatives the city is taking such as releasing a Request for Information to identify new renewable energy generation capacity, with a goal of powering 100 percent of City government operations from renewable sources of energy, and  the Mayor’s proposal that New York City pension funds divest from coal.


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