Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged in OneNYC to make New York City the most sustainable big city in the world and a global leader in the fight against climate change. The City is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50) and ensuring New York has the cleanest air of any large U.S. city. The City has been a strong voice for collective global action on climate change, supporting the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). In June 2015, the Mayor joined Pope Francis and other global city leaders at the Vatican and committed to reducing New York City’s GHG emissions 40 percent by 2030—an interim target on the path to 80 x 50.
New York City’s 80 x 50 Plan
New York City, built primarily on islands and with 520 miles of shoreline, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme storms, and heat waves. New York City’s transportation sector accounts for 22 percent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with fossil fuels burned in passenger cars contributing 14 percent of the citywide total and trucks an additional four percent. Most motor vehicles also emit particulates and other air pollutants that also contribute to global warming, as well as to asthma and premature mortality.
To combat these threats, the City is committed to reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector through several approaches: encouraging travel by low carbon modes; minimizing congestion and total miles driven through technology, market signals, and new mobility service models; transitioning to more efficient cars and trucks running on cleaner energy sources; and enhancing the efficiency of freight and traffic. In the fall of 2016, the City will release a more detailed 80 x 50 action plan focusing on sectors with the highest impact, including transportation.
City of New York Inventory of New York City’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions, April 2016, by Cventure LLC, Cathy Pasion, Mikael Amar, and Yun Zhou, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, New York, 2016.
DOT’s Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program
Tailpipe emissions from trucks are a significant issue in New York City, especially in communities—some of them low-income—that experience a disproportionate level of trucking activity. In 2012, DOT launched the Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program (CTP) to convert older dirtier trucks serving the Hunts Point produce market in the South Bronx to newer cleaner models. Through the $20 million program, trucking fleets were eligible for incentives to retrofit their vehicles or for a discount on the purchase of a new cleaner truck. To date, the project has taken 450 older trucks off the road and led to six engine retrofits and the scrapping of 24 old trucks.
The results are striking. The newer trucks release 97 percent less particulate matter (PM) and 90 percent fewer nitrogen oxides—both pollutants harmful to human health. And because the trucks are more fuel efficient and burn less fuel, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 4,600 tons per year. Moving forward, DOT hopes to secure funding to replace an additional 100 trucks at Hunts Point, as well as to expand the program to additional neighborhoods that shoulder a disproportionate share of trucking activity.