Thursday, April 22, 2021


First annual report outlines City’s climate research agenda; will guide future partnerships with academic researchers


 Mayor de Blasio released the State of Climate Knowledge 2021, a new report that outlines New York City’s climate research priorities and identifies knowledge gaps for future study.


This report, which will be issued on an annual basis by the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, communicates New York City’s research needs to external partners, including academic scientists, federal researchers, philanthropic foundations, and community organizations. This in turn will catalyze new and creative partnerships to develop credible and actionable research products that address the city’s most pressing climate challenges.


“Sound science has always been at the foundation of New York City's actions to address the climate crisis. However, we still have much more to learn about how global warming is impacting New Yorkers and their communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This research agenda will catalyze exciting new partnerships with the research community and will help us create a safer, more equitable future for all.”  


With a cross-cutting focus on equity and climate justice, the report identifies four key areas where additional research is most needed:  

  • How climate hazards will impact the daily lives of New Yorkers and which neighborhoods and demographics are most vulnerable;
  • How to build using green and resilient design practices to lower carbon, reduce vulnerability, and improve the health of New Yorkers;
  • How decision-making frameworks and cost-benefit analyses can better include equity, social factors, and non-monetary considerations; and
  • How different climate communications increase perception and awareness of climate risk leading to individual and collective action.


“Community engagement and collaboration are at the heart of this report, which outlines New York City's first-ever climate research agenda,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. “We worked extensively with communities, agencies, and scientists to identify knowledge gaps and translate them into opportunities for collaborative research and innovation. This isn’t just the climate research that New York City needs; it is the climate research that New York City deserves.”   


The 2021 State of Climate Knowledge was developed through a collaborative engagement process that included dozens of community-based organizations and nonprofits, representing communities in each of the five boroughs. City agencies and authorities were also consulted throughout the process. Participants came from a wide range of backgrounds including conservation of nature, parks and recreation, environmental management, environmental justice, construction and housing, urban planning, health, disaster management, transportation, and law.


In addition to identifying areas of greatest need for scientific inquiry, the 2021 State of Climate Knowledge also makes recommendations for expanding and deepening future engagement related to climate science and risk communications.


This report will build on the City’s strong existing partnerships with the research community, including its close collaboration with the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), an independent panel of climate experts appointed by the Mayor. Since the NPCC’s formation in 2008, they have developed highly accurate and detailed climate projections specific to the New York City region and have issued three Assessment Reports. NPCC3, their most recent assessment, was released in Mach 2019. 


“The co-chairs of the NPCC are pleased to see this new initiative emerge from the Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency. It represents a commitment to community engagement and co-production of knowledge that is a very important contribution to our shared work around resilience and equitable adaptation,” said Christian Braneon, NPCC4 Co-Chair and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies


“New York’s environmental justice advocates have contributed to identifying the key areas of study that will make it easier for the city to track, understand, and develop policies that create more sustainable communities for all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable,” said Peggy Shepard, Chair of the New York City Environmental Justice Advisory Board


“The Waterfront Alliance applauds the City's development of a climate research agenda. We need indicators and research that better connect the science to impacts on our daily lives and the solutions needed to address them. This a great step toward an understanding of what is needed to improve resilience in every neighborhood,” said Cortney Worrall, President and CEO of Waterfront Alliance


“We commend the City’s efforts to identify the most-pressing knowledge gaps to ensure continued progress in addressing climate mitigation and resilience. With a clear focus on the people of the City, this research agenda will help to build equity, understand individual and community impacts and build an educated and engaged constituency for collective action,” said Natalie Snider, Senior Director of Coastal Resilience at Environmental Defense Fund


“New York City is on the front lines of the climate crisis and it is critical that we understand the local impacts of climate change—and the actions we can take to build a resilient future. A coordinated climate research agenda can help us improve residents’ lives today and for generations to come. We know parks, protected open space, and trails are key natural climate solutions; we look forward to working with the City and partners to prove that a greener New York can deliver cooler neighborhoods and flood protection while advancing climate justice to ensure all New Yorkers regardless of race or income are protected from climate hazards,” said Carter Strickland, New York Director for the Trust for Public Land.


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