The Bloomberg administration has done what it can to require future mayors to deal with global warming. But will Bill de Blasio follow Bloomberg's lead?

By Katherine Bagley and Maria Gallucci

Global warming experts around the world say New York City's plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard itself from the perils of climate change are a model for other cities. But most Americans, including New Yorkers, know little or nothing about this achievement, or that it was driven by Michael Bloomberg, who next month ends his third term as New York's mayor. Bloomberg's Hidden Legacy: Climate Change and the Future of New York City helps fill that gap.

It is being published in five installments on our website (read Part 1Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4), but we encourage our readers to download our ICN Books App and purchase a full copy of the e-book. The ICN Books version is enhanced with video, audio and other extras, and 70 percent of the purchase price comes back to us to support our ongoing work.

Chapter Nine: Race to the Finish

The Team

In a high-rise a few blocks from City Hall, about 30 people gathered on Jan. 2, 2013 to begin creating the plan that would help New Yorkers rebuild homes and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy and prepare the city for future climate-related disasters. Some of them knew each other. Others didn't. Each had been recruited because of his or her very specific skills in energy, policy, infrastructure, the economy or climate change.

Seth Pinsky and Marc Ricks, the project's leaders, had spent a month selecting the people they wanted and persuading them to say yes. Many had to quit or take leaves of absence from high-profile, high-paying private sector jobs.

"There is a real sense of civic pride among New Yorkers," Pinsky said. "People recognize that [Sandy] was an unprecedented event in the city's history and they really wanted to contribute to the recovery."

At that first meeting, Pinsky laid out the team's strategy. Bloomberg wanted the plan to focus not just on protecting New York from the next Sandy, but from any other climate change threats that lay ahead.

The project was framed around three questions: What happened during Sandy and why? What could happen in the future because of climate change? What, specifically, should be done to prepare for those possibilities?

"It was a very simple, but very powerful way of organizing our work and our thinking," Ricks said.

Ricks tried to prepare the team for the personal sacrifices they'd have to make to get the project done on time.


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