NYC Climate Just Agenda 2018 - Midway to 2030: Building Resiliency and Equity for a Just Transition

The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) has developed strategies for New York City and State decision makers to better integrate social equity measures into climate change mitigation and adaptation. The report focuses on four priority climate policy areas of: Extreme Heat and Community Preparedness, Air Quality, Green Infrastructure Equity, and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

Recommendations are made that will build upon and improve New York’s existing efforts to address focal climate change impacts and related development issues.  The report cites and commends the planning efforts to manage urban heat in Cool Neighborhoods NYC, and offers further strategies to improve preparedness for Extreme Heat events, such as:

  • Determine NYC’s true mortality rate: as heat-stroke deaths only include those in which heat is the leading cause, but extreme heat can exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular illness for example. 
  • Increase reliability of cooling centers: NYC doesn’t keep consistent hours across cooling centers or release the official list of these centers in advance of a heat emergency.
  • Address Heat Vulnerability and Preparedness of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Residents: Based on the official NYC Heat Vulnerability Index,  more than 50% of NYCHA residents live in the city’s highest heat risk neighborhoods.

Extreme Heat is cited to disproportionately impact low-income communities, communities of color, socially-isolated populations, and the elderly.

The section devoted to Green Infrastructure Equity offers adaptation strategies that enhance green development approaches to help manage climate impacts, equitably across all vulnerable communities. Some examples are to:

  • Comprehensively and Equitably Address Stormwater: studies have found that those living within a half mile of combined sewer overflows in cities are disproportionately low-income and people of color, and New York’s green infrastructure projects have not been implemented across some of the most vulnerable communities.
  • Support Resilient Industrial Waterfronts: NYC-EJA is recommending that local industrial businesses receive strong technical and financial support to implement climate adaptation and pollution prevention strategies.
  • Invest in Equitable and Ecologically-Grounded Coastal Resiliency: the report suggests that investments in coastal protections and resiliency investments have not been equitably distributed to the most climate vulnerable communities.

The report outlines strategies to improve air quality for environmental justice communities, while also lowering GHG emissions in New York’s transit and commercial waste sectors. Recommendations include for New York to: Increase Resources For Grassroots Air Quality Monitoring, among many other mitigation strategies.

 

Publication Date: April 18, 2018

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  • Monitoring
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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