Since the government is incapable of taking meaningful action to diminish the greatest threat to civilization in our species' history, today ten big businesses in NYC promised to make cutting greenhouse gas emissions a priority. Mayor Bloomberg's "Carbon Challenge" is an initiative that's part of the city's PlaNYC sustainability program, but the businesses' participation is voluntary. Google, Goldman Sachs, JetBlue and seven others have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions from their offices by up to 40 percent in the next 10 years.

The companies join 17 universities with more than 35 campuses that took on the Carbon Challenge when it was launched in 2007. Two years later, the city's 11 largest hospital organizations joined the challenge, and today Bloomberg announced that four of the participating universities and one participating hospital "have already reached their reduction targets well-ahead of schedule." NYC municipal buildings are halfway to the goal, having cut 16 percent of their emissions in the last six years, according to the mayor's office.

“I want to applaud the commitment of the 10 companies making the Carbon Challenge pledge, as well as the universities and hospitals that have already taken steps to become more efficient," Bloomberg said today during a press conference on the lovely campus of Rockefeller University. "Their leadership on this issue is not only going to move our city toward a more sustainable future; we also hope it will inspire others to follow suit.”

The participating Carbon Challenge companies—which also include American International Group, BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and PVH—occupy more than 17 million square feet of city office space. The President of JetBlue, which has its headquarters in a certified LEED Silver building in Long Island City, said, "We’re doing our part by reducing our energy, controlling our HVAC, lights and appliances and using green cleaning methods. We encourage our crewmembers and customers to do their part as well." Though considering how much commercial air travel contributes to global warming, we're guessing JetBlue doesn't want to encourage them too much.