The United Nation’s Climate Change Summit this December in Paris, seeks to develop and implement bold new climate change goals that countries will sign onto and commit to meet. However, cities around the globe have already begun to take action, and many are advancing climate solutions that exceed international standards.
One city where climate action has become the new norm is New York City. As world leaders recently met in the city to sign on to Sustainable Development Goals, NY leaders committed to a parallel set of initiatives that echo the international standards. For the first time, a city’s sustainability goals are directly linked to international targets—and city leaders believe that such ambitious commitments will provide health, economic and environmental benefits for New Yorkers.
The goals of the climate action plan, dubbed OneNYC, include dramatically cutting greenhouse gasses, providing better health care to all, alleviating poverty, increasing education, and investing in sustainable solutions. Strategies to accomplish this range from teaching children about nutrition, to macro-level financing plans to fund high-cost infrastructure initiatives.
New York City’s successes are the product of collaboration between businesses, non-profits, government, and communities. An alliance among leaders across all sectors is the key to advancing strong climate solutions, and equally important, empowering communities and the lives of residents. Learn more about improving your community by checking out the resources and joining with city leaders at Path to Positive Communities.
To call New York City a microcosm of the world is no exaggeration: The city is home to an estimated 800 languages, diplomatic missions from 193 nations, and people from every corner of the earth. Right now, New York also faces challenges that mirror those of the broader world, including rising income inequality, a rapidly growing population, and serious vulnerability in the face of climate change.
So it’s fitting that world leaders met in New York to ratify the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)–17 historic targets for ending poverty and hunger, ensuring access to education, protecting the environment and advancing human rights between now and 2030–just as New York City is also embarking on its own parallel citywide sustainable development targets for the decades ahead.