Community First Climate Action Plan

Maya Wiley’s climate plan will:

  • Invest in climate infrastructure development and resiliency planning processes that improve quality of life.  
  • Develop equitable adaptation measures for both social and built infrastructure, with a focus on environmental justice communities, which experience disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards, and increased vulnerability to those hazards, and are primarily low-income and communities of color;
  • Pursue ambitious mitigation targets in our building, transportation, and waste sectors, including by matching or surpassing the State mandate for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040;
  • Partner with environmental justice communities, organizations, and other community-based organizations, such as mutual aid groups, throughout our work.

Wiley’s plan pushes for large-scale infrastructural justice and job creation to tackle both COVID-19 and climate change, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs through New Deal New York, partnering with environmental and climate justice groups, and focusing on community health and resilience throughout our plans. A Wiley administration will not only create green jobs and high-quality career pathways, but will also pursue policies and programs that make individuals, families and communities investors and owners of the renewable energy economy, not just consumers and workers.

Wiley’s administration will tackles these challenges –  like every other –  through partnerships and programs aimed at improving environmental health, using everything from energy policies, infrastructure investments, and zoning and land-use decisions to achieve healthier communities. This means planning with communities and building on local innovations. A full plan can be viewed below.

Vision and Principles

The climate crisis is already here, and it is harming our communities and threatening our future. New York City is increasingly at risk of life-threatening and life-changing superstorms, with sea-level rise that could double the number of New Yorkers exposed to a 1-in-100 year flood by 2100. This crisis gives us the opportunity to reimagine our  city. From renovating NYCHA to expanding flood protections, from the Gateway Tunnel to protected bike lanes, we must transform the way the city functions at every level, across industry, community, and neighborhood. As the 300,000 people who marched through Manhattan during the 2014 People’s Climate March repeated, ‘To change everything, we need everyone’. Under a Wiley administration, that will include every level of city government. Climate change poses an existential threat to today’s communities and the next generation, and requires bold, holistic solutions that meet the scope of the crisis. 

The climate crisis we face exacerbates the racial and economic inequities New Yorkers endure and holistic policy solutions will center communities facing the highest impact. We must work toward a future in which low-income communities and communities of color are no longer hardest hit by storms and severe weather events, and are leading the way in resilience and innovation. Frontline communities who have borne the brunt of climate injustice must be the priority for low-carbon infrastructure investment, which creates jobs, and produces more renewable energy and efficiency. Similarly, our reliance on fossil fuels, piecemeal city planning and siting decisions, and discriminatory housing and zoning policies has led to widespread environmental injustices. This has resulted in child asthma emergency room visits in the Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven that are triple the citywide rate.

We will tackle these inequities  through partnerships and programs aimed at improving environmental health, using everything from energy policies, infrastructure investments, and zoning and land-use decisions to achieve healthier communities. This means planning with communities and building on local innovations. 

The Wiley agenda will implement large scale green infrastructure projects, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs to tackle both the economic impacts of COVID-19 and climate change. Our administration will not only create good, green jobs and high-quality career pathways, but will also pursue policies and programs that make individuals, families and communities investors and owners of the renewable energy economy, not just consumers and workers. We will do this by empowering community residents to be innovators, planners, and decision-makers on using and creating local, renewable energy in their neighborhood. Sustainability will be defined by a green economic justice model that produces equity, improved health outcomes, and long-term stability. 

New York City can achieve and even surpass its ambitious commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Our plan builds on the powerful mitigation and adaptation initiatives already in progress, and creates visionary new programs that will reshape the day-to-day experience of living in our city, in line with the Green New Deal for NYC. These include the launch of a city-wide Green Future Force that will put New Yorkers to work on sustainability and resiliency projects, expanded opportunities for renewable energy production and ownership, and the creation of an Office of Public Space Management, which will give our streets back to New Yorkers through reallocating road space to walking, cycling, and community gatherings, reimagining the very structure of our city. 

A Wiley climate plan will:

  • Invest in climate infrastructure development and resiliency planning processes that improve quality of life by:   
    • Tackling air and water pollution by dramatically increasing the amount of both green space and open space, and aggressively enforcing the City’s existing Local Laws that protect against air pollution and lead contamination;
    • Launching a city-wide Green Future Force, in partnership with existing workforce development and training programs;
    • Redesigning green economic development so that it not only generates green jobs and high-quality career pathways, but also creates wealth and community ownership for individuals, families and communities;
    • Creating a new Office of Public Space Management, tasked with permanently reallocating road space to walking, cycling, community gathering, and green urban design projects;
    • Recognizing and strengthening the intersection of care work and climate work, through increased investment in low-carbon, people-centered jobs and infrastructure
  • Develop equitable adaptation measures for both social and built infrastructure, with a focus on environmental justice communities, who experience disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards, and increased vulnerability to those hazards, and are primarily low-income and communities of color
  • Pursue ambitious mitigation targets in our building, transportation, and waste sectors, including by matching or surpassing the State mandate for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040
  • Partner with environmental justice communities, organizations, and other community-based organizations, such as mutual aid groups, throughout our work

The path to environmental justice is local, and grounded in NYC communities. As we transition toward a carbon neutral economy, front line communities must be at the center of our planning, and our decision-making processes. Our proposals put these communities first by improving access to green and open space, investing in local green job training and development programs, and increasing access to renewable energy ownership opportunities. In addition, we will pay particular attention to the ongoing Environmental Justice for All Report, being conducted by the NYC Environmental Justice Advisory Board and an interagency working group of city agencies, and champion the development of a citywide environmental justice plan based on its findings.

Proposals

1. Environmental Health and Wellbeing


All New Yorkers, regardless of race, class, or income level, should be able to enjoy clean air and water, and have access to green and open space. Through increased enforcement of existing laws that protect against air and water pollution, and expansion of the City’s parks and green spaces, we will make meaningful improvements to the health and wellbeing of all of our residents. 

  • Create a citywide Asthma Action Plan to address the public health emergency facing  communities with high asthma rates like Mott Haven in the South Bronx, Brownsville, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens. As part of the plan:
    • Expand the Asthma-Free Bronx program to public hospitals across the city 
    • Increase regulation and enforcement of the Asthma-Free Housing Act, which requires NYC landlords to annually inspect and correct indoor allergen hazards in the homes of residents diagnosed with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or lung cancer, and expand the law to apply to the homes of all New Yorkers
    • Support the rapid implementation of Local Law 199, the establishment of Commercial Waste Zones, to reduce excess air pollution
    • Invest in building electrification efforts, replacing boilers and furnaces with high-efficiency heating systems that run on affordable electricity powered by renewable energy to reduce indoor air pollution
  • Tackle lead poisoning, which disproportionately impacts communities of color, exposing them to severe and irreversible damage, by committing to better enforcement of Local Law 1
    • Ensure that NYCHA maintenance and inspection procedures are made transparent and adhere to strict time measures, and increase oversight of lead and repair requests and completion timelines, in addition to a commitment to increased testing of water and lead paint
    • Explore the possibility of moving inspection and enforcement from DOHMH to an interagency task force to combat the silos currently holding up regulation and enforcement
  • Advocate for including the right to a healthy environment and other environmental doctrines in the New York Constitution, as proposed by S528 and A1368
  • Double the City’s open and green space, including bike and bus lanes, open streets, parks, community gardens, and accessible waterfront areas
    • Ensure agencies are working together to create and maintain more green space in areas historically lacking, such as Flatlands in Brooklyn, through activities including neighborhood tree planting 
    • Ensure that every neighborhood has equitable access to clean, uncontaminated green space to support recreation, mental health, and property values
    • Explore the expansion of waterfront access and recreation in historically marginalized communities, including Orchard Beach in the Bronx, and Red Hook in Brooklyn
    • Fully fund the Department of Parks and Recreation’s capital budget through New Deal New York
  • Establish citywide groups of community members for resilience planning and action, following the 2021 Bronx People’s Platform for NYC, developed through years of engagement with Bronx residents
    • These groups should disseminate their work and findings and provide information and education to local community boards 

2. Launch a New York City Green Future Force 


In order to address rising youth unemployment in our City, our Green Future Force will provide good, green jobs for young people, putting them to work restoring public lands, improving access to parks, and building out composting infrastructure, among a wide variety of potential initiatives. We will focus on employing young people from frontline environmental justice communities, who have lived experience of what their communities need, and how we can achieve their goals. 

  • Create a new NYC Green Future Force that will place members for up to a year with City agencies and nonprofits doing sustainability and resiliency work, from maintaining our parks to improving our food system. The Force will be managed by NYC Service, which already successfully runs other national service programming that uses federal AmeriCorps funding to pay young New Yorkers for service work
  • Partner with community-based organizations, the DOE, and CUNY to recruit members from environmental justice communities and those most impacted by the pandemic, paying particular attention to gender equity. Projects will be located in these same communities
  • Partner with NYC’s ecosystem of green employers, workforce development programs, CUNY, and organized labor to provide training, networking, and other professional development opportunities to Force members that set them up for high-quality career pathways after their service
  • This proposal would double the size of the current City Service Corps, placing 60 additional Force members in jobs relating to the environment and sustainability. Most of the cost would be covered by AmeriCorps and state-level affiliates, with the City covering $20,000 per Force member for benefits and administrative costs, for a total of $1.2 million. The American Rescue Plan, recently signed into law by President Biden, provides $1 billion for national service. The funding is specifically earmarked for expansions along these lines, as well as increasing Force member stipends.

3. Commit to Energy Democracy for New Yorkers


We will empower community residents to be innovators, planners, and decision-makers on using and creating energy that is local and renewable. This will be done in partnership with groundbreaking organizations like UPROSE and WE ACT who are leading the way, supported by City efforts to map green energy infrastructure opportunities across neighborhoods. By making our energy solutions more democratic, we will improve our health, reduce mounting energy costs so that families can take better care of their needs, and cut carbon emissions. 

  • Elevate opportunities to support and remove barriers to entry for communities of color to be owners, producers, distributors and generators of renewable energy and climate resiliency
    • Ownership can and should take many forms, from community co-ops to B Corps 
  • Work with community organizations to come up with community-based ownership plans, such as UPROSE’s Green Resilient Industrial District plan, which will maintain community ownership of new clean energy infrastructure in Sunset Park
  • Facilitate project-level investment in community-owned solar generation and distribution, especially where solar or solar and storage can displace heavily polluting peaker plants
    • Look to the Solar Uptown Now Services (SUNS) program in Northern Manhattan as a model for building out community owned solar infrastructure
      • SUNS is a solar workers cooperative building power and healthy communities, installing and servicing solar infrastructure on primarily affordable housing in Northern Manhattan and greater NYC
    • The Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the Department of City Planning, will be tasked with mapping out green energy infrastructure in neighborhoods, presenting opportunities to build community microgrids that share power sources

4. Create an Office of Public Space Management


The creation of an Office of Public Space Management will empower New Yorkers to turn their streets into vibrant public spaces, de-emphasize private vehicles, and reduce carbon emissions. A Wiley administration will:

  • Create a new Office of Public Space Management, with the mission of giving streets back to New Yorkers, by permanently reallocating more road space to walking, cycling, community gatherings, and green urban design projects, thereby reducing carbon emissions through increased pedestrianization
    • The Office would expand Open Streets, and continue to invest in Safe Streets, building on the success of newly opened streets like 34th Avenue in Queens
    • The Office would be composed of a mix of agency workers who are already working in this area within DOT, DCP, the Parks Department, and SBS, among others
  • Each of NYC’s community districts would be managed by one or multiple Public Space Managers, depending on size, who would work with the community to identify needs and preferences for how their streets could be re-designed to allow for more open, green spaces, through additions like bike corrals, increased tree planting, and rain gardens
  • DOT would work with the OPSM to create a street hierarchy, to differentiate between transportation network and neighborhood streets, with the latter available for communities to design according to their needs
  • This Office would follow the model of cities like Boston, Paris, France, Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, among others, who have all created similar departments to improve their city’s walkability, liveability, and climate responsiveness 

5. Invest in Jobs for Care and Climate 


As expressed in our Universal Community Care platform, care work is a central part of reaching a sustainable future. The Wiley climate platform recognizes that care work is climate work, and puts care at the core of a just transition. Investing in care jobs that are low-carbon, people-centered and critical to the social infrastructure of our city means recognizing that nursing, teaching, and direct care work are critical to our transition toward a carbon-neutral future. 

  • Invest in resourcing and supporting the majority women of color workers in care industries doing life-sustaining, community-centered, low-carbon work, such as child and elder care, who too often are underpaid and under-supported
    • Provide strong capacity building and training programs that value care workers, and provide clear pathways for promotion and growth
    • Enhance publicly-funded recruitment processes into care industries, particularly with a public messaging campaign to break gendered norms that often prevent men from assuming roles in the care industry
  • Invest in building out and strengthening care work infrastructure, creating thousands of new, dignified, well-paying jobs to meet the demand for accessible child care and eldercare
  • Transition care facilities, including Community Care Centers, to low-carbon hubs with toxin-free, healthy and sound architecture that enables clean air and water 
    • Focus on decarbonizing care infrastructure with systemic shifts like: 
      • School buildings and care facilities transitioning to renewable energy 
      • School buses and care facility transportation leaving behind fossil fuels
      • Planting trees and ensuring accessible green space at care sites, looking to models like Cleveland’s MetroHealth Hospital in a Park
  • Funding for these programmatic initiatives will come from the identified funding streams in the Universal Community Care platform, and construction and infrastructure funding will come from New Deal New York

6. Train a Green Workforce

Investment in low-carbon, green infrastructure is not only critical to our transition to a sustainable future, but it’s also a proven economic stimulus that will create tens of thousands of jobs. It is critical that we focus on developing and making accessible green, good paying union jobs that provide benefits and protections, with a focus on communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and rising unemployment. 

  • Support NYC’s rich ecosystem of workforce development organizations, like Solar One’s Green Workforce Program, Nontraditional Employment for Women, Helmets to Hard Hats New York, and Pathways 2 Apprenticeship to train hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and connect them to good, green jobs
  • In particular, train and connect NYCHA residents and environmental justice communities to living-wage green jobs and high-quality career pipelines, with a focus on ensuring gender equity
  • Partner with labor, workforce organizations, higher education institutions, and business to expand bridge training, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities, ensuring that they are paid and include work-based learning wherever possible
  • The investment described above totals about $7-10 million in programmatic expenses. The American Rescue Plan, recently signed into law by President Biden, provides billions in state and local aid for assistance to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Such communities are, for the most part, the communities of concern for the programs described above.  We will use stimulus funds to cover these expenses.

We are already experiencing the increased volatility and unpredictability of our changing climate. In order to protect New Yorkers from more frequent storms and rising sea levels, we have to ensure that our infrastructure is resilient to shocks and disaster. As laid out in New Deal New York, physical infrastructure and facilities make it possible for our economy to function, and shared social infrastructure enables all of us to fully and meaningfully participate in economic and public life. The Wiley plan takes a holistic, community-oriented approach to adaptation and resilience, and sets our city on a more positive and risk-aware trajectory for the future. 

Proposals

1. Invest in Resilient Waterfronts and Built Infrastructure


While the City is undertaking a number of essential and visionary resiliency plans along its waterfront, climate-resilient infrastructure investment decisions have often been overly focused on wealthy neighborhoods, and lower-income communities of color have not been similarly prioritized. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, for example, protects a portion of lower Manhattan from flooding at an estimated cost of $1.45 billion, but East Harlem and Hunts Point, both major flood zones, have seen almost no investment in flood protection. In order to protect our communities equitably, we must fund resiliency projects fairly. That is why the Wiley climate platform invests $3 billion in building a climate-resilient city for all New Yorkers, funding projects including flood defense infrastructure, renewable energy storage systems, and extreme heat protections, in partnership with environmental and climate justice groups working on the frontlines.

  • New Deal New York commits $3 billion dollars toward a climate-resilient NYC 
    • This will fund development such as Renewable Rikers, developing solar and wind power generation, implementing resilient energy grid infrastructure, energy storage systems, conversion to permeable surfaces, coastal resiliency, and water infrastructure
    • The investment of $3 billion dollars into projects that will address the challenges of coastal flooding, excess stormwater, extreme heat, as well as equitable development of clean energy over three years will not only help to alleviate the challenges facing our City, but also create 28,485 direct and indirect jobs
  • Support expansion of City Council Intro 1620, a comprehensive 5 borough coastal resiliency plan, which seeks to ensure that all five boroughs are protected from rising sea levels, severe weather events, and coastal erosion
    • NYC still has over $400 million in federal aid to spend on resilience-building projects along its coastline, which is home to low-income communities and NYCHA developments in neighborhoods like Red Hook, Coney Island, and Alphabet City
  • Work with communities on implementation and design, including consideration for waterfront infrastructure that supports local jobs
    • Ensure funding for adaptation and resilience-building goes to industrial areas on NYC’s waterfront that provide jobs to local communities, looking at models like UPROSE’s Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance
  • Implement key recommendations of the Hunts Point Resiliency Feasibility Study
    • Search for long-term, renewable alternatives to back-up diesel generation
    • Incorporate recommendations from the South Bronx Community Resiliency Agenda including community solar and WiFi mesh networks, and replicate these solutions in other neighborhoods
  • Consider expanding application of NYC Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines beyond all city capital projects to private developments
    • Partner with the Waterfront Alliance’s Access for All Task Force to ensure that investment in waterfront parks, development, and resilience are made equitably, and prioritize vulnerable communities in the floodplain
    • Substantially increase funding to maintenance and operations for parks on or near the waterfront
  • Ensure swift implementation of Local Law 181, which requires the city to install renewable energy storage systems in all city buildings that are cost effective, with installation beginning as soon as May 1, 2021
  • Involve local communities in creating comprehensive resiliency agendas for the City’s 7 Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs), building on the model being developed by the South Bronx Community Resiliency Agenda 
    • 6 of the 7 SMIAs – the South Bronx, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Newtown Creek, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Kill Van Kull – are located in communities of color

2. Create and Expand Resilient Social Infrastructure

Our social infrastructure, and the spaces in which we come together as communities, should lead the way in transitioning toward climate-preparedness. Developments like Greenpoint Library’s Environmental Education Center, which features outdoor reading and demonstration gardens, and accessible green roofs on the upper floors, show us the promise of building climate resilient social infrastructure. We will look to models like this one as we transform our social infrastructure, including public schools and libraries, into urban oases, which will provide relief from the effects of climate change, while expanding opportunities for knowledge building and sharing around energy use and resiliency. 

  • Invest in infrastructure to allow city-owned social infrastructure like public schools, libraries, hospitals, and Community Care Centers to act as climate-ready community hubs
    • These facilities can serve as cooling centers, which are more critical in neighborhoods higher on the Heat Vulnerability Index, which are mostly low-income communities and communities of color including Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and Brownsville in Brooklyn; Belmont and East Tremont, Morrisania, and Highbridge in the Bronx; and Central Harlem in Upper Manhattan
      1. Install solar infrastructure including storage capacity on these buildings to ensure access to electricity in the event of a disaster, in line with Climate Works for All platform item: Install Solar Energy on Rooftops of NYC’s 100 Largest Schools
    • Cooling centers should be easy to locate, have food and water available, have personnel on hand, be accessible to New Yorkers who use wheelchairs and strollers, and be inclusive of all gender identities
  • Explore options for building resilience of public hospitals
    • Undertake a feasibility study of the Climate Works for All Coalition recommendation to invest in public hospital resilience-building projects, including onsite energy generation, relocating mechanical equipment, providing adequate funding for public health services, and training hospital staff
      1. Onsite generation and storage would ensure hospitals can continue to provide healthcare services in the event of major grid disruptions, and also provide other essential services during disasters
  • Convert concrete school yards into multifunctional urban oases 
    • Building on models from France, replace concrete school yards with green spaces to reduce the city’s heat island effects
    • Green school yards could help with flood mitigation, as concrete and other nonporous surfaces prevent water from being absorbed underground
    • Schools are located in every NYC neighborhood, and such dispersed infrastructure improves community access to the resilience and adaptation benefits of the green school yards
  • Expand community-based environmental education programs like the recently opened Environmental Education Center at Greenpoint Library
  • Create Learning Labs in school buildings for communities to learn about energy use and climate change
    • Partner with organizations that provide education on energy, climate education and composting, including CELF, Cloud Institute, and Solar1
    • Provide energy awareness workshops for community members of all ages
    • Explore hydroponics and/or community gardens, in partnership with programs like NY Sunworks
  • Funding for these initiatives will come from New Deal New York

3. Explore Innovative Options for a Resilient Energy Grid


We recently witnessed the disastrous consequences that a vulnerable power grid can have. In February, more than 3 million Texans lost power in frozen temperatures, the result of an unregulated and unprepared energy industry, more interested in its own bottom line than in providing stable and safe service. In order to prevent blackouts and shutdowns, and the havoc they can cause, we must urgently insulate and update our energy infrastructure. We will make necessary investmentment in existing storage and distribution lines, along with new resilient renewable technologies to provide small-scale power generation and energy storage, while demanding the continued expansion of accessible, low-cost, renewable sources of electricity.

  • Support a transformation of utilities, including public accountability for long-deregulated investor-owned companies like Con Edison
    • Following other cities like San Francisco and Chicago, push for public control over energy supply lines, demanding expansion of renewable sources for New Yorkers’ electricity
    • Lobby for fewer private industry members of the Public Service Commission, and greater oversight and accountability to the public  
  • Advocate before the New York State Public Utilities Commission, including in rate cases, to make resilience-building a state priority
  • Monitor ConEd’s progress on addressing the NYC-specific findings of its 2019 vulnerability study
  • Put pressure on National Grid into conducting a robust study of its own
    • Hire consultants to independently verify the findings of these report
  • Expand opportunities for community choice aggregation (CCA) for electricity, following guidance from NYSERDA
    • CCA allows participating local governments to procure energy supply service and distributed energy resources for eligible customers in the community. These customers have the opportunity to opt out if they wish, and continue to receive power from the existing utility
    • CCA furthers the dual goals of increasing NYC’s share of clean energy and ensuring community-focused spending, as seen in Boston’s program

4. Strengthen Disaster Response and Recovery Mechanisms


As we have seen throughout the pandemic, New Yorkers go above and beyond to support each other in a crisis. With the advent of more frequent storms, heatwaves, and floods, we must protect and strengthen this capacity, with a focus on the most vulnerable among us. To ensure we are prepared for emergencies that will arise as our climate changes, we will develop community-led disaster preparedness task forces across the City. 

  • Build a network of community-driven mutual aid organizations that the City can work with to provide timely relief and urgent communication in the wake of climate disasters
    • Work with existing mutual aid and community-based groups and develop infrastructure that ensures support from the City for these groups
  • Work with communities and community-based organizations to identify and address their concerns and need, through disaster-preparedness task forces 
    • Support existing efforts like the one developed by El Puente in Bushwick, who are advocating for a community resiliency and public health emergency task force
  • Activate and partner with existing community networks to add social check-ins for seniors and other vulnerable groups after short-lived or extended shocks
  • Assess vulnerabilities in NYC’s food supply and work with communities to develop access strategies
    • To address physical risks to access, build on the City’s 2016 study, which focuses on last-mile food distribution in the Five Boroughs
      1. Identify infrastructure and localized climate risk to food distribution in every borough
      2. Assess capacity of existing point-of-sale outlets to hold emergency food supplies 
    • Work with borough leadership and community boards to create localized councils of emergency food providers and distribution plans
    • Ensure schools, which many families rely on to adequately nourish children, are accessible and operational in case of disaster/emergency
    • Map the City’s food pantry network, and develop plans to increase coverage in areas lacking access

5. Capitalize on NYC’s Natural Resources Through Hydrology Projects

New York City is an amazing collection of islands. We’re surrounded by invaluable water resources, but many of us feel alienated from those bodies of water. Through hydrology projects, or ‘daylighting’ buried waterways across the 5 boroughs, many of our city’s neighborhoods could take advantage of the hidden benefits of our underground water resources — environmental, recreational, cultural and economic, to name just a few.

  • In collaboration with an interagency task force, academic partners and other stakeholders, organize a mapping of opportunities to ‘daylight’ streams in the five boroughs
    • Daylighting, or hydrology projects, restore buried waterways and return them to a variety of beneficial aboveground uses
  • With a map of daylighting options, neighborhoods, community boards, and other stakeholders would engage in democratic dialogue about the kind of project they would like as a permanent feature of their neighborhood, with potential benefits including: 
    • Combined sewer overflow reduction and stormwater management
    • Better water quality
    • Historic and cultural resource preservation
  • Examples of successful daylighting projects include the restoration of a waterway that once again runs through Madrona Park in Seattle, and the restoration of a section of the Sawmill River that empties into the Hudson River in Yonkers 

In line with the campaign vision of reimagining our City – we must reimagine our economy to be carbon negative. We must tackle both our direct and our indirect emission to truly address NYC’s climate impact. The direct emissions of New York City come from three sources – energy use and buildings (68%), transportation (28%), and waste (4%). All of these are fundamental city infrastructure systems, intertwined with the economy, education, health, equity, and quality of life. 

Building on the ambitious plans NYC has developed, we will seek carbon neutrality or negativity through 100% clean, renewable energy sources including offshore wind, solar and geothermal, all of which will create good, green jobs. In line with the Green New Deal for New York City, we will match or surpass the New York State mandate for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. 

Proposals

1. Drastically Cut Emissions from Energy Production and Buildings


It is past time for us to take a strong stand on fossil fuel infrastructure within our city. Even now, activists are battling a fracked gas pipeline through majority Black and brown neighborhoods in North Brooklyn. Developments like this are in direct conflict with New York City’s climate laws and goals, and our commitment to obtaining 70% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. To meet this goal, we will oversee the transformation from a fossil fuel reliant city to one that is powered by  renewables. We will work with environmental justice groups, community members, and labor advocates to retrofit and upgrade our building stock, and decarbonize our energy generation systems. 

  • Remove carbon emissions from energy generation
    • Prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure and funding sources, including pipelines and gas turbines, and support ongoing grassroots fights against fossil fuel infrastructure like the No North Brooklyn Pipeline organizing effort
      • Implement Climate Mobilization Act studies on shutting down all oil and gas-burning power plants in the City
      • Study the feasibility of wind turbines in New York Harbor, the Rockaways, and other coastal locations
    • Complete the City’s 2014 goal of installing 100 megawatts of solar energy across 300 public buildings by 2025
      • Retrofitting and installing solar on public buildings will create more than 5,000 jobs in 3 years, as found by the Climate Works for All Coalition
      • Balance solar installation with building accessible green roofs 
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings, which are responsible for 68% of NYC’s direct emissions
    • Commit to the decarbonization of all existing housing, including public housing, through retrofits and efficiency upgrades 
      • Conducting moderate retrofits to the city’s affordable and public housing, and small low-income residential buildings will create 42,210 jobs over 3 years
    • Invest in building electrification efforts, replacing boilers and furnaces with high-efficiency heating systems that run on affordable electricity powered by renewable energy
      • Transition away from natural gas for heating, hot water, and cooking, in new construction and ban gas hook ups in new developments and major renovations 
      • Expand the City’s solar and geothermal heating program without allowing landlords to pass the cost onto tenants
        • Partner with State agencies to help subsidize these improvements
    • Fund and enforce Local Law 97/Dirty Buildings Law, passed as part of the Climate Mobilization Act
      • Enact requirements to cut pollution for buildings not currently covered by LL 97 without raising costs for home-owners
      • Support the New York Renews coalition of environmental justice organizations working to protect the law at the state level 
    • Set a goal of zero carbon emissions within the commercial real estate sector, tightening building codes while providing additional tax incentives 
  • Pursue climate-smart finance and governance
    • Fully divest City pensions from the fossil fuel industry before 2023, and reinvest these funds in clean energy infrastructure projects

2. Shift Toward High-Efficiency, Low Emission Forms of Transportation


Our city’s transit infrastructure has been shaped by legacies of systemic disinvestment. Bus depots, airports, major highway interchanges, and other forms of transportation infrastructure disproportionately impact low-income neighborhoods. We must work to reduce the burden of emissions from our transportation infrastructure on frontline communities, through shifting toward electric vehicles, and using more environmentally sustainable modes like rail and shipping. Under a Wiley administration, the City will take a comprehensive approach to reimagining streetspace, reducing our dependence on cars, and increasing access to sustainable transportation, including bikes. We will lead the way by reducing the size of the City’s fleet of owned and leased vehicles, and more aggressively transitioning it to zero-emissions.

  • Reduce our dependence on personal automobiles 
    • Expand and improve the implementation of congestion pricing, in collaboration with the State
      • Reinvest revenue from congestion charging to the MTA
      • Advocate for the MTA and DOT to create public health goals as part of the program, monitoring and benchmarking air pollution reduction, along with traffic reduction 
    • Invest in the creation of 300 miles of bike lanes, as proposed by the Regional Plan Association, creating up to 1,600 indirect and direct jobs in the process
      • Study the potential for the construction of new pedestrian and cyclist bridges to connect the 5 boroughs, e.g. the Queens Ribbon proposal 
    • Support advancement of the Hudson River Tunnel project to ensure high-capacity rail for commuters and freight
    • Work with taxi and rideshare services to optimize routing and reduce empty time spent circulating
      • Enforce anti-idling laws, especially for city fleets
  • Support the transition to electric vehicles 
    • Use City purchasing power to transition the existing fleet to electric
      • Start with school buses and ambulances, whose depots are clustered in low-income communities and communities of color, and which currently idle continuously to maintain a steady temperature
    • Begin planning for an eventual ban of internal-combustion cars
      • Current policy is for a phase-out of all non-electric vehicles owned or operated by NYC by 2040 – we can be much more aggressive, as other cities are doing
    • Provide community-based education about electric vehicles, and ensure equitable location of charging stations
    • Require new or renovated commercial, industrial, or multi-family residential buildings to be equipped with electric vehicle supply equipment close to parking spaces
  • Focus on freight transportation
    • Reduce logistics sprawl, the tendency of warehouses and depots to move away from urban regions towards suburban areas, and develop distribution hubs in the City
      • Facilitate load consolidation between shippers 
      • Provide incentives, and then mandates, for the electrification of light-duty trucks 
    • Continue to improve curb management to maximize mobility and access for the wide variety of curb demands, and enforce curb and parking rules
  • Move toward shipping port electrification to help reduce shipping emissions and expand opportunities for NYC to play a larger role in the maritime industry 
  • Support community-based proposals for transportation justice, like UPROSE’s Upland Connector Streets project, which will link the Sunset Park upland community to the working waterfront, allowing residents to safely commute to industrial jobs on the waterfront while also providing linkages to the Greenway and Bush Terminal Piers Park

3. Transform Waste Management Systems


Our current waste management system is outdated, and in dire need of reform. Right now, we have low recycling rates, inequitable siting of heavily polluting waste transfer stations, and a lack of clear guidance on organics collection. By reducing the amount of waste we generate, expanding composting programs, and decarbonizing our waste handling systems, we can improve our environment and our economy, resulting in a healthier place to live and work. 

  • Improve our waste handling systems
    • Phase-out sending waste to municipal waste incinerators, 80% of which are located within 3 miles or less of communities of color and low-income communities, like Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, which receives trash from NYC 
    • Support roll-out of Local Law 199, or Commercial Waste Zones, to increase efficiency among private carting companies and reduce excess air pollution, traffic, and noise, and promote financial stability and high recycling and waste reduction standards
    • Build and improve upon existing carting system and require carters to develop zero waste plans, or innovate their waste reduction systems in exchange for long term contracts 
  • Expand curbside pickup organics recycling program to create jobs, increase revenue, and reduce negative environmental impacts and energy costs
    • Support community compost organizations like the LES Ecology Center
    • Explore a universal organics recycling collection
      • Open up parks as local drop-off sites, incentivize participation, and invest in public education campaigns
    • Create partnerships with private companies to invest in facilities capable of processing higher levels of organic waste to support the June 2021 lift of the suspension of NYC’s organics recycling program 
  • Reduce the amount of waste we generate
    • Solidify our commitment to zero waste by 2030 and more severely restrict single-use plastics including plastic bags and commercial packaging
    • Prohibit retailers from destroying and landfilling unsold or lightly damaged merchandise and enhance donation and proper recycling programs, modeled after a recent law in France
    • Expand and promote the Donate Food and Rescuing Leftover Cuisine program
      • Regulate business, conference, and event catering to have a plan in place for the donation of leftovers
  • Work with environmental justice organizations and coalitions like Transform Don’t Trash, to prioritize equitable waste management systems and create good jobs 

4. Work Toward Carbon Negativity


To avoid climate breakdown, emissions from high-income cities like ours must decrease by two-thirds by 2030. To achieve this, we will have to dramatically scale up our ambition, and aim for carbon negativity, rather than carbon neutrality. Becoming carbon negative will mean investing and expanding our natural carbon sinks, including our forests and wetlands, which absorb carbon dioxide. It will also require us to expand our focus beyond cutting emissions produced within our City, to those produced in the production of goods and services we consume, such as food, clothing, electronics, and many more. 

  • Work with the State to become carbon negative, by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or storing more of it than is emitted
    • Deeply invest in protecting and expanding natural carbon sinks that absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including forested areas and wetlands  
  • Transition to a consumption-based greenhouse gas framework, taking into account the carbon emissions that occur along production chains of goods and services coming from outside the City
    • Catalog and benchmark emissions that come from production and processing operations, business travel, employee commuting, leased assets and franchises, and purchased goods and services 
      • Identify strategies for reducing emissions within these categories, for example by mandating reductions in the carbon emissions of building materials, especially steel and cement
      • Reform procurement processes to ensure the City is using its purchasing power to reduce its carbon footprint, in partnership with programs like the Good Food Purchasing Program