De Blasio Appeals To 'Mutual Need To Survive' At UN Climate Summit

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Mayor Bill de Blasio 

Mr. Secretary General, thank you for your forceful leadership on climate change, and I welcome you all.

It's an honor for New York to host this momentous gathering. So many people who are fighting to save our planet have converged on our city to spark greater action, as we saw powerfully at Sunday's march.

We know humanity is facing an existential threat. The cause is us – how we heat our homes, how we transport ourselves, the reckless way in which we live. This is an issue we all face.

No one is spared. And our mutual need to survive should instill in us a kind of unity we so rarely experience. For New York, this is particular urgent.

Two years ago, Hurricane Sandy left 44 dead in our city. The storms to come will be far more lethal. We are not presented with options. We have only one choice – urgent, daring action. New York City has already begun. Greenhouse gas emissions are down 19 percent from 2005, because of a plan instituted by my predecessor Michael Bloomberg, now the U.N.'s Special Envoy for cities and climate change.

This was vitally necessary, but now we must go even further. On Sunday, I announced that New York City is firmly committed to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are now the largest city in the world to commit to such a bold plan. We will make energy efficiency upgrades to every city-owned building by 2025.

And for private buildings, we'll set ambitious targets for voluntary reductions, but if steady progress is not made, we will issue clear mandates. Our long-term goal is bolder still – charting a path to a full transition from fossil fuels, and helping to build a more urgent international movement, starting with the C40 Climate Leadership Group.

Today, New York City is embarking on this path. We know we will not walk alone. We will press onward, joined by leaders from around the world who share this sense of urgency. And if necessary, we will push others along, because only through a global movement, can we act before it's too late.

Thank you.

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