City’s plan to honor Paris climate accord includes solar projects, new recycling program

Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to honor the Paris Agreement was released on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to honor the Paris Agreement was released on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Cindy Ord

Despite President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Mayor Bill de Blasio has reaffirmed that New York will continue to meet standards set by the agreement.

De Blasio issued the city’s detailed plan to lower its carbon footprint on Tuesday. The “1.5°C” plan, named after the Paris Agreement’s temperature reduction goal, outlines several environmental actions already taken by city agencies along with proposals to speed up the city’s green efforts, according to the mayor.

“Hotter summers and powerful storms made worse by climate change are an existential threat to a coastal city like ours, which is why we need to act now,” he said in a statement.

In June, Trump said the United States would leave the Paris Agreement, but the decision since has been widely challenged. The “1.5°C” plan would reduce 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent — the same as removing more than 2 million cars from the road — by 2030.

One of the plans touted in the report is to launch a citywide single-stream recycling program by 2020, where New Yorkers wouldn’t have to separate their plastics, glass and paper. The report contends this program would result in more recycling participants.

This will also work to make sure all residents participate in the Department of Sanitation’s organic recycling program.

This fall, the city will break ground on 50 new solar projects on public buildings to help reach its benchmark of 100 megawatts of solar power on public property by 2025.

De Blasio also called for accelerated expansion of Select Bus Service routes. The mayor’s administration, however, has only been able to create 15 SBS routes — five fewer than the 20 it aimed to create in de Blasio’s tenure. The report also proposed a carbon neutrality protocol that would rally other cities and organizations to pool ideas to meet the Paris Agreement.

Critics argue de Blasio’s plan falls short of necessary change.

New York Communities for Change, an income equality nonprofit, slammed the mayor’s proposals saying it doesn’t do enough to cut emissions from tall buildings at a fast enough pace.

“De Blasio is only tinkering around the edges of climate change with incremental fixes, instead of offering the decisive leadership New Yorkers need and deserve,” Pete Sikora, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.