Low Carbon Leader: New York

Reading time: 28 minutes
1 April 2007

This report highlights case studies within business and government to show New York's unique opportunity to help the world to mitigate the threat of climate change. The bottom line, so to speak, is that climate change is a financial issue. While direct carbon emissions from the finance sector are small relative to industrial manufacturing, financial investment helps determine the energy sources and associated technologies the world uses. Thus, the role of financial institutions on climate change is indirect but critical. In 2006 the United States' financial community reacted to the increasing awareness about climate change - in federal elections, within vehicle manufacturing, and amongst religious communities and the general public. Carbon focused brokerages, asset managers, hedge funds and investors evolved at a monumental pace as investors began to realize the significant returns that can be made by going green.

As the financial center of the world, New York City is home to many of these new firms and offices, as well as established Fortune 500 companies who have adopted climate-awareness as a central part of their business portfolio. While New York is a renowned financial leader, The Empire State's long-time political leadership on climate change is less well known. New York drove state level action in the United States by initiating the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. New York City's financial might and climate change leadership can provide major benefits in working to address the issue.

These pages are a testament to the leadership within the whole of New York State on climate change in the areas of business and local government.  The businesses highlighted here are from a variety of sectors and share examples of best practice emissions reduction within their internal operations as well as providing solutions throughout their product lines to reduce GHG emissions. Even more compelling though, is evidence of a positive opportunity for New York to apply its strongest leverage, namely via its role as a world financial and media center, and become a hub for the low carbon economy.

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