New York City is ramping up its fight against climate change with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from high-rise buildings by 40 percent over the next decade. The City Council is expected to pass on Thursday an eight-bill legislative package that has been called its own version of the Green New Deal. The most ambitious bill of the lot requires NYC buildings 25,000 square feet or bigger to meet new standards to reduce greenhouse gas outputs by upgrading them with energy-efficient technology.
Climate experts say nearly 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gases are emitted by the largest buildings. As 6sqft reported in 2015, the leading offenders of driving climate change include luxury buildings like 838 Fifth Avenue, 101 Warren Street, Trump Park Avenue, Trump Tower, and 666 Fifth Avenue.
Sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, who represents parts of Queens, the Climate Mobilization Act aims to cut emissions by large buildings by 80 percent by 2050. It’s likely to become the largest one act to cut climate pollution of any city, according to Constantinides.
“We have the opportunity to enact bold legislation to fight climate change that keeps costs down, enhances our quality of life and guarantees a healthier future,” Constantinides wrote in a Daily News op-ed. “Or we can succumb to cynical interests that employ scare tactics from the shadows whenever they perceive even the slightest threat to their exorbitant profits.”
New standards will be based on the type of property, targeting buildings that emit the most carbon first followed by better-performing buildings. The bill also creates an Office of Building Energy Performance under the Department of Buildings to oversee compliance and develop plans to meet goals for both 2040 and 2050.
While rent-regulated buildings, where owners can push improvement costs onto tenants, and houses of worship would be exempt from the cap, these types of buildings will still be required to implement other energy-saving measures.
Building owners who do not meet the new caps would be heavily fined, according to the legislation. And the total cost to owners for the energy-efficient upgrades could exceed $4 billion, the New York Times reported.
The legislation comes almost two years after Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to commit the city to the standards of the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Donald Trump had pulled the United States out of in June 2017.
[Via NY Times]
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