Cities and Climate Change: New York and the World
Rohit Aggarwala, City of New York, New York, Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability 2006-2010
Monday, January 3, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building (Y2E2) | Free and Open to All
Followed by the Orange Bowl Reception and 5:15pm Kickoff on the Plasma TV, in the Y2E2 Social Entry (for faculty, students, and staff), 473 Via Ortega, Stanford.
Increasingly, the focus of the global fight against climate change is shifting to cities, both as national policies and global agreements seem unlikely to change in the near term, and as policymakers appreciate the extent to which the frontlines of the fight are in the cities themselves. Home to the majority of humanity, and the vast majority of global consumption, cities will clearly be the locations of most efforts at improving energy efficiency and reducing transportation emissions. In most of the world’s cities, it is local government that has direct control over the planning decisions, building codes, transit systems, and waste systems that must change if the world is to transition to a low-carbon economy. Finally, in many countries, urban populations are more willing to adopt low-carbon policies than national populations, which make it far more politically feasible for mayors to act decisively.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York is increasingly seen as a leader on urban sustainability policy, both for his local efforts in New York City and globally, upon his recent assumption of the chairmanship of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an organization of many of the world’s largest cities working together on climate change policy.
Rohit T. Aggarwala, Bloomberg’s former sustainability director and currently an advisor to C40, will talk about the content, history, and execution of PlaNYC, New York’s award-winning sustainability efforts. From planting a million trees to adopting congestion pricing to requiring hybrid taxis to imposing retrofit requirements on existing buildings, PlaNYC was an ambitious plan that has had major successes and significant defeats. Aggarwala will discuss, in particular, lessons learned from the victory on green buildings and the defeat of New York City’s congestion pricing proposal.
In addition, he will talk broadly about the challenge facing the world’s cities. C40’s members account for one-twelfth of humanity and 20% of global GDP, but the needs, powers, and political constraints affecting municipal government vary dramatically across those cities.
No slides available
Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala is an environmental policy expert, transportation planner, and historian. He currently serves as Special Advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in his capacity as Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and an environmental advisor to Bloomberg Philanthropies. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
From 2006 to 2010, Aggarwala was the Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability for the City of New York. In that role, he served as the chief environmental policy advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and led the development and implementation of New York City’s sustainability plan, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. Mayor Bloomberg called him “the brains behind PlaNYC.”
PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York (2007). http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/downloads/download.shtml
New York City’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/downloads/download.shtml
ICLEI, “The Process behind PlaNYC”, a history of the Plan’s development, also available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/downloads/download.shtml
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group website, www.C40cities.org
Siemens’ “Green City Index”, http://www.siemens.com/entry/cc/en/greencityindex.htm
Kennedy, et al, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Cities”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, 7297–7302
Prior to joining the Bloomberg Administration, Aggarwala was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. He holds a PhD in American History, an MBA, and a BA from Columbia University, and an MA in History from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He was an adjunct associate professor of Urban Studies at Barnard College in 2008 and 2009.