Friday, April 24, 2015

New York Mayor Champions Economic Justice in Sustainability Plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) during an interview last year. On April 22, 2015, de Blasio announced his revamped OneNYC plan, an effort to include poverty reduction in the Bloomberg administration’s plan to address climate change, calling it "a real blueprint of change." (Credit: Mayor Bill de Blasio/Facebook) Click to Enlarge.
Environmental justice advocates may have found a climate champion in Mayor Bill De Blasio, who this week made income equality the centerpiece of his sweeping sustainability plan for New York City.

The plan, known as OneNYC, is a rebranding and revamping of the city's eight-year-old sustainability agenda PlaNYC, but the emphasis on economic justice came as an unexpected swerve.  Urban development and environmental experts told InsideClimate News that OneNYC is the most ambitious strategy in the nation to link the fight against income inequality with climate action and may inspire officials in other municipalities to follow.

De Blasio's plan is a municipal-level equivalent to the thorny discussions between rich and poor nations over an international climate deal.  There is now growing recognition that a climate deal that fails to lift poor nations out of energy poverty would not succeed. Guaranteeing people access to clean electricity would promote economic development, uplift the lives of the poor—and address the economic justice issues that have plagued climate progress.

"The revolutionary thing here is the linking of all of it to equality," said Rob Freudenberg, director of environment and energy at the Regional Plan Association, of De Blasio's effort.  The plan is "novel and unique," and a "great start establishing a new vision."

However, he added, "a lot of lip service has been given to solving environmental justice... People are right to say, 'Let's see how the actions link up to the visions.'"

De Blasio called the plan a "real blueprint of change" at a press conference in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the South Bronx, an area historically riddled with pollution and economic woes.  Expanding the city's environmental agenda to include economic inequality—the key issue on which he ran for office in 2013, which has dominated his agenda as mayor—was a natural decision, he said.

Read more at New York Mayor Champions Economic Justice in Sustainability Plan

No comments:

Post a Comment