Yesterday, the City Council passed a bill that says New York City must cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. The bill, which was approved 47-0, was sponsored by Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides and is expected to be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio.
To reduce emissions, measures similar to those used for PlaNYC will be put into play, including planting trees and retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. But we also suspect that the bill will spur a wave of new green developments.
This isn’t the first time such a measure was enacted. In 2006, the City Council passed a law requiring a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. But after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, lawmakers decided more dramatic action was necessary. Councilman Constantinides told the Observer: “There’s probably no greater threat to our global civilization than climate change. There is undisputable links between our carbon emissions and reducing ice sheets, extreme sea rise and overall warming climates worldwide. If we don’t act now, future generations of New Yorkers will be condemned to a future of blistering summers, mass extinctions and seas that threaten to engulf low-lying areas around the globe.”
Almost 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in the city come from powering, heating, and cooling buildings. To curb this, the city plans to first introduce a series of green initiatives to retrofit publicly-owned buildings and then offer incentives to private owners who do the same. To meet the new 80% reduction rate by 2050, the city will have to reduce emissions by 30% over the next ten years alone. Mayor de Blasio noted that the new energy efficiency measures will not only save money, but create thousands of jobs. And with so many new developments already aiming for LEED status to receive tax breaks, we imagine that the new bill will only sweeten the pot.
[Via NY Observer]