New York City passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80%
New York City just passed a landmark bill to cut carbon emissions. City council members overwhelming voted in favor of a historic law, called the The Climate Mobilization Act, which will reduce emissions of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet by 80 percent over the next 30 years.
The most significant portion of the bill will require these buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. By 2050, these buildings will have to cut emissions by 80 percent total, greatly reducing overall air pollution in the Big Apple. Buildings of this size, including Trump Tower, represent a tiny portion of the city but cause about half of building-related pollution.
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The new law comes on the heels of a study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that linked building emissions to climate change. Researchers with the IPCC concluded that carbon emissions in the United States grew by a little over 3 percent in 2018. Large buildings were a major contributor to the jump in emissions, and the study called for tighter restrictions in the building sector.
New York City’s new initiative will undoubtedly help lower those numbers. The plan will also create jobs for thousands of New Yorkers. Lawmakers estimate that the law will put around 20,000 people to work, mainly in the construction industry. With the bill being beneficial to the environment and economy, city council members voted it in 45–2.
“The Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City — one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change,” Costa Constantinides, a member of the city council, shared.
Constantinides added that he hopes the new law will encourage other cities to enact similar legislation. Apart from curbing building emissions, the bill includes measures to boost energy efficiency in utility plants, encourage green roofs and various forms of renewable energy and make it easier for individuals to receive wind project permits.
Despite the positive outlook on cutting carbon emissions, the bill was met with considerable resistance on behalf of several real estate firms in the city.
Via Climate Nexus
Image via Bruce Emmerling