- The urban tech leader who worked in the Bloomberg administration as chief environmental policy advisor to the mayor will now serve as the city’s Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has appointed urban tech leader Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala as chief climate officer and commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Aggarwala will lead the climate leadership team that will focus on environmental protection and environmental justice across New York City. Adams also named Vincent Sapienza as chief operations officer and Kizzy Charles-Guzman as executive director of the new Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice.
The appointments “signal the Adams administration’s commitment to rolling out a comprehensive system that will allow this city to offset the effects of climate change and unnecessary carbon emissions,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office. Aggarwala will report to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.
Aggarwala previously served as director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability for the City of New York. In that role, he served as the chief environmental policy advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and led the development and implementation of New York City’s sustainability plan, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. Some of his achievements included the passage into law of a landmark set of mandates that would make all large buildings in New York City more energy-efficient and submetering for commercial tenants.
He also led the effort to make New York City’s 13,000 yellow taxis convert to hybrids, clean up the heating oil used in New York City’s buildings, and develop a greener construction code for New York. He was also one of the architects of Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to bring congestion pricing to Manhattan and served as the mayor’s point person on Building America’s Future, a coalition the mayor created with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania.
He served as president of the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He was also part of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs, an urban tech spinout that was recently folded back into Google. Most recently, Aggarwala was a senior urban tech fellow at the Jacobs Urban Tech Hub at Cornell Tech. 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.
Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Aggarwala was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where his practice focused on transportation and telecommunications clients.
Aggarwala currently teaches at Columbia University and has also taught at Stanford University and at Barnard College. He has published articles on transportation, environmental policy, and the history of New York City and of Canada. He also serves as a trustee of St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy; as a member of the board of the Regional Plan Association; and advisor to the Eno Transportation Foundation; and as a member of the strategic advisory council of New World Capital, a private equity firm.
Aggarwala holds a B.A., M.B.A., and Ph.D. from Columbia University, as well as a Master’s degree from Queen’s University in Ontario. He was born in New York City and lives there with his wife and daughter.