New York City Pioneers Climate Budgeting, Aligning Fiscal Plans with Environmental Goals

Central Park Manhattan with NYC skyline behind

NYC has set a near-term goal to achieve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, demonstrating a strong commitment to rapid climate action. (Photo Credit: Unsplash+)

by | May 13, 2024

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Mayor Eric Adams recently unveiled New York City’s inaugural climate budgeting initiative through the Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget. This pioneering approach integrates scientific climate considerations into budgetary decisions, assessing the environmental impact of current expenditures to better align with long-term climate objectives. As the first major U.S. city to adopt this method, New York City joins global leaders like London and Mumbai in prioritizing climate in fiscal strategies.

The new framework ensures that every dollar spent by New York City is examined for its climate impact, identifying areas needing more attention and prioritizing investments that propel the city toward its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This strategic focus will enhance the city’s resilience against extreme weather events like flooding and heat waves.

Mayor Adams emphasized the scale of climate challenges and the critical role of integrating climate considerations into budgeting to alter government spending for a sustainable future. Starting this year, the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has embedded climate-focused practices in the budgeting process, including evaluating projects aligned with emission reduction and climate resilience goals and a new mandate for climate data accompanying all capital project proposals and funding requests.

“There is an old line that says, ‘Show me your budget, and I’ll show you your values.’ This is a great first step towards a day when our budget fully reflects our commitment to climate action. When fully implemented, climate budgeting will ensure that each budget decision incorporates climate as a key aspect of fiscal responsibility,” stated Rohit T. Aggarwala, New York City’s Chief Climate Officer and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner.

Sheena Wright, First Deputy Mayor, stressed the approach’s alignment with environmental goals, positioning the city as a frontrunner in sustainable urban development. At the same time, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi pointed out the need to incorporate climate budgeting in mainstreaming climate action into daily operations through strategic investments.

The budgeting cycle has already spotlighted several high-impact actions, such as stringent emission limits on private buildings and the electrification of public transport, aligning with state efforts to transition to a clean electric grid. Newly allocated funds in the FY25 Executive Budget will advance these initiatives, including significant investments in energy efficiency and infrastructure transformation to support renewable energy.

Looking ahead, the city plans to expand its strategic investments based on insights from the ongoing climate budgeting process, which will include enhancing flood resilience through advanced technologies and creating comprehensive plans to tackle environmental challenges effectively.

These concerted efforts demonstrate New York City’s commitment to leveraging fiscal strategies to meet ambitious climate targets and ensure a livable environment for future generations.


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