The new office combines the Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to streamline environmental justice and sustainability efforts more efficiently. On April 19, 2021, Mayor de Blasio appointed Ben Furnas as the Director of the Mayor’s office if Climate and Sustainability. The new office combines the Mayor’s office of Climate Policy and Programs with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. The new office will streamline and build upon the work of the former offices to reduce New York City’s negative impact on climate change, the use of fossil fuels, and further environmental justice.
Furnas is known for his recent tenure as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning. Furnas spearheaded the Mayor’s climate, infrastructure, and transportation agenda when he served as Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning. Under this role, Furnas also assisted in the Vision Zero Project, OneNYC program, the 80×50 Action Plan, the Climate Mobilization act, the city fleet electrification, and the city’s bus lanes and bike network expansion.
Furnas, originally from Ithaca, got his degree from Cornell University and law degree from New York University. He began his career working at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. Before he began his work in the Mayor’s office, Furnas worked as Senior Policy Associate for Bill de Blasio when he was still a Public Advocate. Under this role he focused his efforts on budget, land use, street safety, transportation, health care, immigration, and labor issues.
Furnas began his work in the Mayor’s office in 2014 when he served as Senior Policy Advisor. He went on to serve as the Special Advisor for Sustainability and Infrastructure to the First Deputy Mayor.
Jainey Bavishi, the former Director of the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency will remain in the same role in leading the now renamed Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. The Office will continue its leading role in the City’s ambitious climate adaptation efforts. The Office will be implementing over $20 billion in various resiliency projects and developing policies and programs for a more equitable New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “Confronting the climate crisis requires bold, immediate action. Ben has the expertise, drive and passion to make these next eight months count. From reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to bringing clean energy into New York City, Ben will lead efforts to combat climate change on the front lines.”
Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, stated, “Climate change is the generational challenge of our time, and we can’t afford to waste a single moment. I’m thrilled to be joining the most ambitious municipal climate and sustainability team in the country. I look forward to working closely with Jainey Bavishi and the terrific people across city government and the five boroughs who care so deeply about fighting climate change while creating opportunities, improving everyday life, and correcting inequities in the city we love.
Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, stated, “There is no better choice for this role. I look forward to working in lockstep with Ben to address pressing climate change issues across the five boroughs. Together, our offices will work to ensure that our communities, infrastructure, buildings, and transportation networks are built to achieve carbon neutrality and prepared to withstand worsening climate disasters.”
By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)