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Livable Planet

NYC's New Emissions Cuts are Like Taking 900,000 Cars Off the Road

New York City will target 14,500 buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to keep a commitment to the Paris climate accord.
Photo via Mayor's Office

When President Trump gave environmental protection the middle finger earlier this year by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, New York City was quick to take action showing it does not align with the president's move. Mayor Bill De Blasio responded by pledging New York City would adhere to the agreement and accelerate the city's own efforts to reach an 80 percent reduction in overall emissions by a 2050 target.


The state of New York is ranked ninth by the EPA when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions -- with Texas, California, and Pennsylvania leading the damage. In New York City, fossil fuels burned in buildings for heat and hot water are the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 42 percent of the citywide total.

Aligned with his pledge, DeBlasio just announced new rules for building owners to help cut the pollution. This makes New York the first city in America to demand its buildings dramatically cut GHG emissions.

For some building owners, this means making improvements to boilers, water heaters, roofs and windows by 2030. But there are 14,500 "energy culprit" buildings that together produce almost a quarter of the city's total GHG emissions. The new mandate's approach to these buildings is replacing fossil fuel equipment all together. Those not interested in getting on board could face punishments ranging from annual penalties to restrictions on future permits for major renovations.

If all goes to plan, the new mandate will reduce total citywide emissions by seven percent by 2035, equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road.

Along with the new climate conscious initiative comes 17,000 new jobs required to ensure that the new mandate is put into action properly. New York's Green Jobs Corps will help train thousands of job seekers to fill the needed positions for plumbers, carpenters, electricians, engineers, architects, and energy specialists.

While the burden of the new legislation may seem heavy on building owners, the plan also promises energy cost savings of up to $300 million per year for those who own multi-family buildings as well more reliable desired temperature for tenants.

Learn more about New York's commitment to making the city go green. If you want to support renewable energy in your hometown, support the Sierra Cub's Ready for 100 campaign.