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4 Awesome Things Mayor Bloomberg Did for the Environment

4 Awesome Things Mayor Bloomberg Did for the Environment

New Year’s Day marked the end of an era, and not just for marijuana prohibition in Colorado. For the first time in 11 years, New York City has a mayor who is not Michael Bloomberg. Elected as the city’s 108th Mayor way back in 2002, Bloomberg was an outspoken politician. Although there were many things he got wrong (his brutal treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, that bogus stop and frisk program and his defense of horse-drawn carriages), he was a champion of environmental causes during his time in office.

As many speculate about how the new mayor, Bill de Blasio, will acclimate to the challenges of leading America’s biggest city, let’s look back on the impact Bloomberg had on both hyperlocal environmental issues, as well as the national discussion about climate change.

4 Awesome Things Mayor Bloomberg Did for the Environment

NYC greenhouse gas emissions Bloomberg

1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On Bloomberg’s last day in office, it was announced that greenhouse gases in New York City had dropped 19 percent since 2005. In 2007, Bloomberg’s office launched an initiative called PlaNYC. Among other things, this comprehensive climate change blueprint set a goal to slash citywide emissions 30 percent by 2030. Strategies for achieving this goal included hybrid taxis, encouraging electric vehicle adoption and upgrading city government buildings to increase energy efficiency. Many of those strategies were indeed implemented, and as such NYC is already two-thirds of the way toward its 2030 goal.

2. Bike Sharing

Mention New York City and almost everyone imagines taxi-clogged streets and public transit nightmares. But during his tenure as mayor, Bloomberg proved that non-motorized transportation has value. He created bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, and helped launch CitiBike, the first U.S. bike sharing program big enough to rival those in Asia and Europe.

bloomberg hurricane sandy flooding

3. Resilient Buildings

When Hurricane Sandy crippled much of New York, Bloomberg used it as a real-life demonstration of our need to take action on climate change. Rather than wait for the federal government to step up, Bloomberg challenged cities to take the lead in climate preparedness and resilient design. He also helped establish Finance for Resilience (FiRe) to identify the best potential climate, clean energy, green growth or sustainability financing solutions and help them get to scale.

bloomberg cigarette ban

4. Smoking Ban

During his time in office, Bloomberg tried to ban lots of things he thought were unhealthy. Many of these initiatives failed because, for better or worse, American liberty says we can abuse our bodies in any way we choose. Bloomberg was successful in fighting back against Big Tobacco, however. Cigarette smoking is usually framed as a health issue, but as the image above shows, there are environmental implications as well. It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year, and since filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, not cotton, they can take decades to degrade, reports Bloomberg’s Smoke-Free Air Act banned smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars, parks, beaches and places of employment. It now additionally prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in all areas where smoking is prohibited.

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Images via Thinkstock, djfrenchfry, shankbone, mtaphotos

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7:49AM PST on Nov 4, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

6:53AM PST on Jan 17, 2014

Banning electric bikes was the most ignorant racist thing Bloomberg did. Instead of blaming electric bikes, that mostly Chinese deliverymen used to deliver food, Bloomberg should have banned cars, that choke the city streets, in traffic congestion, and kill people. Instead of banning cars, and supporting our car centric culture, the coward Bloomberg, bans electric bikes, because powerless immigrants can't fight back, because they have few rights. Electric bikes can take the place of cars in cities, and it's time for ignorant mayors like Bloomberg to see that, and stop supporting car centric bias.

3:24PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

I will give him credit for the good promoted by him. I will also not give him good remarks for the 'wrongs' he did.

7:15AM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Please don't be so married to your dogma that you cannot see when good is actually done by someone who you might otherwise dismiss. I might not have been a big Bloomberg fan but he did do good and that should be recognized. "My karma ran over my dogma"

8:06PM PST on Jan 11, 2014

When claims like reducing pollution are made and a percentage is given, one needs to be aware that its these same people who were responsible for the pollution in the first place

8:03PM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Bloomberg is a a puppet of the banksters who hide behind humanitarian smokescreens while implementing the police states. Just review the constant reports of the NYPD brutality and disregards for law and human rights. Just look at what the Nazi Bloomburg did to the wall street occupiers who exposed wall street for who they really are.

2:21PM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Bloomberg is white trash!!

12:31AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Thanks for the post.

I don't understand some people, why don't you want to accept that he did some good?

He was not perfect but the article was about what good thing he did and several of you want to forget that and look for the NEG !

2:13PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

Some good - lotta bad - what's new in politics?

2:00PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

On Bloomberg’s last day in office, it was announced that greenhouse gases in New York City had dropped 19 percent since 2005. In 2007, Bloomberg’s office launched an initiative called PlaNYC. Among other things, this comprehensive climate change blueprint set a goal to slash citywide emissions 30 percent by 2030."

That is a great achievement. Many places arent meeting their promises in this area.

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Thank you so much for sharing

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