Paging through the text of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's speech yesterday introducing PlaNYC 2030, New York City's ambitious set of goals for creating a sustainable megacity in the next 25 years, I naturally thought that the opening words, "I really have to thank the Governor for that very kind introduction" meant that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer would introduce New York City's Mayor.
But instead, the lights in the great hall of marine life at the American Museum of Natural History dimmed, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thanked the Mayor for being his partner in strong efforts to cut energy use and blunt climate change.
It's as if Bloomie and the Governator have embraced the United States with a big, wet, green kiss -- and they don't care who sees them.
Later on, the Mayor's speech was punctuated with a video appearance by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who hailed PlaNYC 2030 as one that "will make out New York as a global leader in climate change [and] champion the transition to a low-carbon future."
These leaders of three global economic and cultural centers have taken a stance on blunting climate disruption, however much each is grounded in the daily game of political give and take. This London-New York City-Sacramento alliance has cut around the inaction in Washington, D.C. -- like cutting a life-threatening growth from the body politic.
There's going to be a lot of digging into the details of PlaNYC's 127 proposals in coming days, but for now, let's bask in the rare glow of leadership and vision it represents. Here's the line that got the Mayor a standing ovation yesterday afternoon:
Our city has come back from the abyss of the 1970s -- and from the attacks of 9/11, and we have come back stronger than ever. Our economy is humming, our fiscal house is in order, and the near-term horizon looks bright. If we don't act now, when? And if we don't act, who will?