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  • Writer's pictureRashaun Parks

Local Insights are Shaping National Climate Action

MSS’ Partnership with NYCEDC, MOCEJ, and the NY-NJ MSA

Emily Litt, an MSS outreach specialist, engaged in critical on-the-ground outreach in Crown Heights, New York.

In collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC), and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), Metropolitan Strategies & Solutions (MSS) is ensuring that the voices of vulnerable populations are heard and that critical climate pollution issues in marginalized communities are being addressed. This project, a Priority Climate Action Plan supported by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Program, shows our dedication to aligning community concerns with high-impact climate pollution reduction priorities.

Our official map of the six LIDAC clusters.

MSS focused on engaging directly with Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities (LIDACs) to learn about crucial climate pollution concerns. Our project partners identified a list of 26 LIDACs using the methodology set in the LIDAC Benefit Analysis. To increase the efficiency of the LIDAC community engagement, the project partners organized the 26 LIDACs into six clusters, three in New Jersey and three across all five boroughs in New York City. 

MSS' on-the-ground teams interacted extensively with community members, leveraging online surveys to gather comprehensive insights. Our approach went beyond traditional methodologies by utilizing the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) and directly collaborating with local stakeholders to ensure our interventions were impactful and inclusive. This deep dive into the community's perspective was critical, as climate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions disproportionately affect these populations. The findings from the outreach directly informed the Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP), setting the stage for sustainable, community-focused development and policy planning.

A Collaborative Framework for Change

Central to our approach was a partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ). This collaboration was instrumental in refining our outreach strategies and ensuring that the voices of the most affected populations guided our climate action initiatives. Working closely with our partners at Guidehouse, we designed a strong framework for the NY-NJ MSA's future climate pollution reduction planning to keep the Nation’s largest metropolitan area on track to decarbonize by midcentury.

Outcomes and Impact

The strategic insights from this extensive community engagement have informed critical aspects of the NY-NJ MSA’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, focusing on equity and inclusivity. The priorities developed are set to catalyze significant environmental improvements while supporting economic stability for the most vulnerable communities.

The PCAP begins our comprehensive approach to climate action in the NY-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area. As we transition from the PCAP to the development of the Comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CCAP), the insights and foundations we have established will guide our strategies to ensure more sustainable and inclusive environmental policies. The CCAP will expand upon the groundwork laid by the PCAP, focusing on more targeted community engagements, refined implementation measures, and innovative environmental conservation practices expected to set a precedent for nationwide climate action.

As MSS continues to lead and innovate in community planning, this project stands as a testament to the power of collaborative governance and community engagement in crafting policies that are not only sustainable but also equitable.

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