Pricing for Sustainability

In his weekly radio address yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg discussed some steps his administration is taking toward a sustainable future, including the creation of an Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, and a Sustainability Advisory Board, which held its first meeting last week.

Long-term sustainability is of course right up Streetsblog’s alley. Correspondent Charles Komanoff donned his policy-wonk hat last week and came up with an Economist’s Agenda for a Sustainable NYC. These recommendations draw heavily on the concept of creating financial incentives and disincentives to encourage people to make the right choices as they consume energy and natural resources. We’re hearing through the grapevine that the advisory board is paying close attention.

Komanoff’s recommendations:

  • Price Peak Power
  • Unbundle Electricity
  • Price the Roads
  • Price the Curbs
  • Abolish Privileged Parking
  • Universal Bottle and Bag Deposits
  • Tax Carbon, Not Commerce

Details are on the other side of this link.

  • I’m glad the Mayor clarified that they are not only looking at the carbon output of various city agencies, but also of all the people in all the five boroughs.

    The plastic bottle and bag bill is simple common sense and would dramatically change behavior quickly.

  • And yet, I don’t think there are any economists on the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory panel, are there? It seems to be short of transportation and land use people as well — just Robert Yaro of RPA, I believe….

  • mfs

    i’m a doofus- what does “unbundle electricity” mean?

  • Unbundling from rent I believe. Some folks have their electricity included in their rent, which gives them no incentive to reduce usage. Komanoff estimates that 10 percent of all renters have this type of arrangement.

  • DOT Guy

    why not unbundle parking as well? many employees get free parking. if they had to pay for it, or if non drivers got the equivalent cost of a parking space in terms of free transit passes, then many driving trips would switch to transit, bike and walking trips overnight.

  • I would like to have a little electricity meter in my house that shows me how many kilowatts per hour I’m burning and calculates the cost right there on the meter. That’d be a good reminder to turn everything off before I step out. It’d be kind of like the dashboard interface of the hybrid Toyota Prius — it kind of teaches you how to drive in the most gas-saving way. Maybe the mayor should make ConEd put a little meter like that in people’s houses….


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