FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York 

Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

November 19, 2020
Contact: Terence Cullen
tcullen@council.nyc.gov

Follows Recommendations by OneNYC Panel to Meaningfully Fight Climate Change

Astoria, NY — Council Members Costa Constantinides and Mark Treyger today introduced a bill requiring the City to track certain indicators to better understand climate change’s threat to New York. 

This proposal, a key recommendation by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, will enable local policymakers and climate scientists to make accurate, data-driven decisions to preserve the Big Apple for generations to come. 

“Listening to scientists has never been so important,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “Today, we are following through on their recommendation we rely on up-to-date data about the threats of climate change as well as our ability to withstand the violent weather it brings. I am proud to work with Council Member Mark Treyger on this bill.” 

The New York City Panel on Climate Change, in its 2019 report, argued a “centralized, coordinated indicators and monitoring system is essential for a comprehensive, city‐wide risk assessment of trends in climate and impacts and course correction toward climate change adaptation and resiliency goals and targets.” The experts emphasized these indicators should focus on helping communities on the front lines of climate change. That means looking at how factors like extreme heat might impact over-polluted environmental justice neighborhoods.

The new bill would require the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to launch a pilot program that starts tracking two climate-related indicators. 

  • The first must look at social vulnerability components, which could mean tracking the changes in surface and air temperature for July and August; the number of annual heat advisories issued and heat-related fatality rates; or the number of days per year with significant sustained wind or gusts.
  • The second must track how resilient New York City’s infrastructure is to withstand the increasingly present effects of climate change. These could include tracking the number of organizations engaged in resiliency projects; how many miles of dunes that have been replenished; or the change in population along our more than 500 miles of coastline. 

The legislation comes as the Atlantic experiences a record-shattering hurricane season. The Big Apple has not been shielded from this, as Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled the region over the summer. Extreme heat has also put more New Yorkers at risk, especially those recovering from long-term COVID-19 symptoms. This year saw July and September being hotter than normal since New York City began keeping records, far outpacing the normal level of extremely hot days. 

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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