Investing in the future: de Blasio, Schumer announce climate change facility competition on Governors Island

DSC04179 copy-2 copy re
Mayor de Blasio, Senator Schumer, and Congressman Nadler ride to Governors Island.
Photo by Dean Moses

New York City is set to be at the forefront of climate research with the launch of a new facility on Governors Island on Monday dedicated to finding scientific solutions to climate change.

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congress Member Jerry Nadler, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and state Senator Brian Kavanagh took a scenic ferry ride to Governors Island; however, this trip was not dedicated to recreation at the 172-acres of green space but rather investing in the Big Apple’s future through climate research.


Schumer and de Blasio chat with a young man while on route to Governors Island. Photo by Dean Moses
The pair hop in a golf cart. Photo by Dean Moses

The elected officials were whisked from the ferry and onto golf carts where they zoomed to a seating arrangement overlooking the city skyline. 

“If you want a single place that can create a great idea,” Mayor de Blasio told The Trust for Governors Island under the afternoon sun, “and it be a shot heard round the world, come to New York City.”

The mayor deemed the bustling metropolis as the ideal site for the greatest talent and diverse minds to share ideas, he explained, announcing a global competition developing research centered on the climate while also creating an educational hub on Governors Island — the Climate Solution Center. 

In the shadow of One World Trade Center, the mayor announced the new Governors Island Climate Solution Center competition. Photo by Dean Moses

“It’s one thing to have a beautiful place in our harbor that people can enjoy. It’s another thing for this place to lead us to the future, and that’s what we aspire to here. That here in the place where New York City as we know it today literally began, this island, that this will be the place that leads us to the future. This will be the place that solves the greatest crisis facing New York City and humanity, which is climate change,” de Blasio said. 

Governors Island has long been an oasis of greenery, partnering with educational and cultural organizations to provide a space for public engagement. Now this site is looking to the future by becoming a United Nations center for scientific research on the biggest threat to our environment by offering the opportunity for an institution to create a facility to combat climate change. 

Onlookers listen to speeches. Photo by Dean Moses

“I love doing things that will keep New York City the number-one city in the world into the future,” Schumer said. “This is a great idea, the only caveat is that we maintain a broad public purpose for this precious space, and so you had a whole lot of ideas what to do with this island—everyone has an idea—some of them are good and some of them are not so good. But I can’t think of one no more urgent public purpose than confronting the calamity challenge of climate change. It’s going to affect all of us and every living thing on our planet.” 

Described as a labor of love, the project will receive up to $150 million in capital funding by The Trust and City of New York to support its creation. The Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI): Anchor Educational & Research Institution is looking for an organization that will lease 33 acres of development sites and/or one million square feet of adaptive reuse opportunity within historic buildings on Governors Island. 

Schumer discusses the importance of the Climate Solutions Center. Photo by Dean Moses

Those interested in responding to this RFEI must submit a description of their vision, addressing advancements to climate-related fields. Additionally, those interested in applying must submit their response by Sept. 29, 2021 and showcase their plans on how they would make positive contributions to Governors Island’s physical campus and existing community of partners and visitors.

The proposed center for climate solutions is projected to create over 7,000 jobs, generate approximately $1 billion in economic impact for New York City as well as be an anchor the Island’s Center for Climate Solutions, a cross-sector hub of educators, researchers, innovators, and advocates that will prepare New York City and cities around the world for climate change. 

“This island is not an island. It is going to be a fount of knowledge that spreads all over the cities of America and the world, all over the globe telling us how we can prepare and deal with the crisis of climate change,” Schumer said.

The mayor rides back to Manhattan. Photo by Dean Moses

More from around NYC