Over the past ten years, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ushered in a series of progressive initiatives, often without public support. He outlawed smoking in bars, public parks and beaches, required fast food chains to list the calories in their food, and most recently, has been pushing for an unpopular ban on the sale of giant soda drinks. He has been active not just as a mayor, but as a very wealthy private citizen – for example, donating $50 million last year to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal program.

But as the end of his final term approaches, he and his team are doing what they can to ensure that his legacy continues after he is out of office. On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed legislation to create two permanent panels to advise the city on the threats of global warming. The bill was passed unanimously by forty-four council members and will require the city to “institutionalize and regularly convene” a panel of scientists as well as a government task force, both focused on recommending how the city should handle problems like increasingly volatile weather.

James F. Gennaro, the chair of the council’s committee on environmental protection, said in a statement on his website that “Years from now, people will look back at this legislative package as the moment when city government, critical stakeholders and concerned citizenry came together to transform our buildings into centers of environmental innovation, showcases of engineering excellence and engines of economic revitalization. These bills are transformative for our environment, a boon to our economy and a beacon to other cities on the journey to environmental sustainability.”

Many of Bloomberg’s environmental and health related initiatives have been copied by other cities in the past; hopefully, other cities will follow suit on this one as well.

Image via Alex’s Blog