U.N. Climate Summit Attendees Should Look to its Hosting City as a Model for Success

nyc clean heat

Next week, climate delegates from around the world will flood into the city for the United Nations Climate Summit, where they will negotiate the finer details of international policies to address climate change. But climate action need not always unfold on global stages. Cities, too, can be prime drivers in improving our environment, and the U.N. Climate Summit’s host, New York City, is a great example.

New York City’s Clean Heat program reached its goal of reducing soot pollution by half in just two years. NYC Clean Heat is a program to replace dirty heating oil in the city’s most polluting commercial and residential buildings.

Successful environmental campaigns require broad support and NYC Clean Heat is no different. EDF helped convene the diverse coalition of city officials, non-profits, and private sector banks to launch a $100 million financing program to help building owners transition from dirty heating oils to cleaner fuels such as natural gas or biodiesel.

More than 4,000 buildings – half of them low-income residential housing – began using cleaner fuels and cutting sulfur-dioxide pollution by 70 percent. The result: the city’s cleanest air in 50 years. [Tweet “NYC’s Clean Heat program reached its goal of reducing soot pollution by half in just 2 years. http://ow.ly/BFe8O “]

NYC Clean Heat offers a proven model for change. The program brought together key stakeholders and combined technical assistance, outreach, and access to financing for building managers. Impressed by the program’s success, Mayor de Blasio has extended NYC Clean Heat, set to expire this past summer, for another year.

Every NYC resident is affected by air pollution, and each building that converts is another step toward cleaner air for everyone. And, by assisting buildings in the conversion process, the program is helping buildings run more efficiently, cleanly, and saving money in the long run.

Anybody at the U.N. Climate Summit who thinks there’s a lesson here for another big city with a soot problem can contact Mayor de Blasio’s office for details. Because this city gets it.

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