Source: News Release: “Mayor’s Announcement: Program to Help Curb Effects of Extreme Summer Heat”
New York, NY (June 16, 2017) – Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, a new $106 million program designed to curb the effect of extreme heat and rising temperatures from climate change, including $82 million to fund street tree plantings in neighborhoods identified as disproportionately vulnerable to heat-health risks.
This comprehensive city program will involve proactive and reactive measures in heat-sensitive neighborhoods to help mitigate the threat to public health from the urban heat island effect exacerbated during summer months.
“Climate change is a dagger aimed at the heart of our city, and extreme heat is the edge of the knife,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is a question of equity; hotter summers, exacerbated by climate change, are a threat that falls disproportionately on communities of color and the elderly. We are answering that question with programs designed to protect the health of New Yorkers, expand our city’s tree canopy, promote community cohesion, and more.”
Every year, hot summers cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat-stroke – all outcomes that disproportionately impact older adults and vulnerable populations. Extreme heat kills more New Yorkers than any other extreme weather event, and leads to an average of 450 heat-related emergency department visits, 150 hospital admissions, 13 heat-stroke deaths, as well as 115 deaths from natural causes exacerbated by extreme heat.
Rising temperatures, more frequent and longer-lasting heat events threaten the New York’s livability. The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPPC) projects up to a 5.7°F increase in average city temperatures and a doubling of the number of days above 90°F by the 2050s. The NPCC also projects that heat waves in the city will increase in intensity and duration.
Cool Neighborhoods NYC is a comprehensive resiliency program aimed at reducing these heat-related health impacts and deaths, by lowering temperatures in heat-vulnerable neighborhoods, strengthening social networks, and improving quality of life for all New Yorkers. The program expands the City’s current heat reduction efforts, like NYC °CoolRoofs, and adds new initiatives like Be a Buddy NYC, and providing climate risk training for home health aides. The City will also work with health departments and other stakeholders across New York State to support an
expansion of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to assist qualified households in paying utility bills related to the operation of air conditioners.
As part of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the City announced an $82 million commitment to fund street tree plantings in neighborhoods in the South Bronx, Northern Manhattan, and Central Brooklyn. These areas have been identified as disproportionately vulnerable to heat-health risks, according to the City’s Heat Vulnerability Index, which combines metrics proven to be strong indicators of heat risk. The City will also invest $16 million to support planting trees in parks and an additional $7 million to support forest restoration across the five boroughs.
The City has identified a priority list of 2.7 million square feet of private- and public- roofs in the heat-vulnerable areas of the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, and Northern Manhattan to conduct strategic outreach to owners and target the successful NYC °CoolRoofs program over the coming years.