The climate change decision landscape of the New York Metropolitan Region has many dimensions and is inhabited by many decision makers. The first decisions directly related to reducing climate change involved setting an ambitious goal for mitigation, which is set in the city’s plan, PlaNYC, as a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, and then the implementation of actions to accomplish that goal. One of the first actions was an announcement by Mayor Bloomberg of a long-term plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s municipal buildings and operations by 30 percent much earlier—by 2017. This reduction would cut the city’s annual output of greenhouse gases by nearly 1.7 million metric tons and reduce peak demand for electricity by 220 megawatts (see http://www.nyc.gov/news [accessed July 2008]).
Accomplishing the goal will take literally thousands of individual decisions in order to upgrade existing municipal buildings, including firehouses, police precincts, sanitation garages, offices, and courthouses. Such decisions include determining choices of energy-efficient facility lighting; refrigeration units; boilers; office equipment; and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. In addition to purchasing decisions, the city is focusing on ways to operate buildings more efficiently, especially through developing and implementing preventive practices in buildings that consume large amounts of energy. For example, leaking pipes, clogged steam traps, and inefficient air distribution, pumps, and fan systems will need to be systematically identified and repaired.
As a coastal megacity, New York City also faces complex decision challenges on climate change adaptation. The decision environment consists of intertwined jurisdictions of city, state, two-state, and federal agencies. For example, for adapting regional transportation to potentially more damaging coastal floods, New York State has several corporate public authorities to further public interests, including the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Complications in decision making and funding arise since New York State, New York City, and surrounding counties all share in the governance of these bodies.
This complex decision landscape, the multiplicity of decision makers, and the evolving nature of climate change together create a complicated and evolving set of information needs for New York City and the region. The processes that have emerged combine analysis, deliberation, and ongoing