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Climate and the MTA

Climate change is underway, and public transit is an important part in the fight against this existential threat.

The transportation sector, mostly powered by fossil fuels, is the largest single source of emissions in the United States, accounting for 28% of all national greenhouse gas emissions in 2022. But over half of these emissions come from passenger cars and trucks.

In contrast, public transit emits a fraction of the emissions compared to the same commute by car. Every year, MTA transit riders across the New York City region avoid at least 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being pumped into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon absorbed by a forest the size of Indiana.

This simple action of choosing public transit lowers emissions and substantially reduces local air pollution, demonstrating the MTA’s commitment and our riders’ commitment to the health of our planet.

MTA climate actions

As described in our 20-Year Needs Assessment, the MTA is accelerating actions in anticipation of climate change. These actions include:

  1. Climate resilience, to protect our system from multiple climate change threats that are already underway, including coastal surge, sea level rise, torrential rain, and extreme heat.
  2. Climate sustainability, to cut our operational greenhouse gas emissions at least 85% by converting nearly 5,800 buses to zero-emissions, retrofitting existing facilities, investing in energy-saving technologies, and more.

History of climate action

The MTA has a record of leadership in climate action. These archives represent the strong foundation that we continue to learn from: