When Hurricane Sandy hit last October, the vulnerabilities of the New York/New Jersey region to extreme weather were made all too clear. The Rebuild by Design challenge was launched to find the most innovative ways to make the region more resilient and sustainable.
With the end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure drawing near, many are speculating which of his policies will survive the next administration. New York City’s comprehensive environmental plan, PlaNYC 2030: A Greener, Greater New York, has been championed politically by Bloomberg, but is grounded in science and data, and performance management. It has demonstrated progress, achieving multiple goals for the city, making it appealing to any administration. On Oct. 22, we hosted an event where we posed the question “Is Sustainability Sustainable?” to our guest experts, Rit Aggarwala and Sergej Mahnovski. The answer is simply that it needs to be.
To combat urban air pollution and traffic problems, some propose congestion pricing as a cost-effective policy to reduce pollution and improve productivity through improved travel speeds. Cities in China could implement this policy and ameliorate some of the negative effects of congestion-caused pollution. So why is congestion pricing dead on arrival in China?
Americans are paying more for water than they did a decade ago, even as water utilities fall into debt and water infrastructure deteriorates, according to a Columbia Water Center report.
Cities already lead the action on responding to climate change. And cities are utilizing groups such as the Urban Climate Change Research Network to share lessons from implementation and scholarly research on urban climate change.
Earth Institute scientists across many disciplines are playing key roles in helping New York move forward following Hurricane Sandy. Many were already advising the city about the potential effects of sea-level rise, storm surge, climate change and related issues before the storm hit, For better or worse, their predictions were vindicated, and they now continue efforts to help make infrastructure and population more resilient and sustainable.
The impact of climate change on New York City could be even more severe than previously thought, putting more people at risk from increasingly frequent floods and heat waves, according to a report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change that was released Monday.
Last October, Superstorm Sandy provoked widespread frustration and fear after it left more than 7.5 million people in the New York Metro area without power. In the hardest hit areas, outages lasted two weeks or more. These failures led many observers to wonder if America’s aging electrical grid was up to dealing with emerging climate and other challenges.
When the Environmental Defense Fund asked me to measure how biogas cook stoves were changing the lives of farmers in rural India, there wasn’t a word in that question with which I was comfortable. Having just graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, I had never done fieldwork; and the concept of a biogas digester, which turns cow dung into natural gas through anaerobic digestion, was itself a mystery. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a steep learning curve into low-carbon development at a large scale. But even more, that it would provide a window into the lives of families whose existences have permanently improved thanks to the clean cooking stoves.