New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the appointments of his climate leadership team that will focus on environmental protection and environmental justice across New York City. Mayor Adams appointed Rohit T. Aggarwala as chief climate officer and commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Vincent Sapienza as chief operations officer of DEP, and Kizzy Charles-Guzman as executive director of the new Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice (MOCEJ) — which consolidates multiple city agencies into one. Mayor Adams highlighted these accomplished environmentalists’ proven track record of promoting cleaner air, advancing climate resiliency, and protecting New Yorkers.
“It is evident to anyone who opens their eyes that we are in the midst of a climate crisis in this city and around the world, so it’s time to think outside the box and determine how we can handle the crisis before it’s too late,” said Mayor Adams. “This past year alone, we have experienced extreme weather anomalies and rising sea levels, which have endangered New Yorkers’ lives, their homes, and their livelihoods. The remnants of these different calamities are still being repaired to this day, but my administration is committed to transforming the city’s quality of life and fighting for environmental justice for all New Yorkers, and this team is exactly who will get the job done for New Yorkers.”
“Making progress on climate requires not only good policies but also driving resilience, decarbonization, and environmental justice into daily city operations,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, commissioner, DEP, and chief climate officer for the City of New York. “I’m excited to shape the city’s climate work on behalf of Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Joshi and am honored to lead the 6,000 men and women at DEP who ensure that New York’s drinking water, harbor, and air are safe and clean, and who are our front lines on managing stormwater. I’m especially grateful to Vinny Sapienza for agreeing to stay on at DEP, so I can rely on his deep operational expertise in managing this mission-critical agency.”
Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala is a widely recognized expert on urban sustainability, technology, and mobility. He led the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, founded the environmental grantmaking program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, and served as president of the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He was part of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs — Google’s urban technology startup — and more recently was a senior urban tech fellow at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute. He has provided advice and assistance to a number of foundations and impact investment funds and chaired the Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan for the New York region. Aggarwala holds a PhD, MBA, and BA from Columbia University and an MA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Aggarwala will report to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.