New York City has approved an ambitious plan to combat climate change by forcing thousands of large buildings to slash their greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation passed on Thursday by the city council puts caps on carbon emissions for buildings over 25,000 sq ft – requiring a 40% overall cut in their emissions by 2030.
The mandates, touted as a local version of the Green New Deal embraced by many progressive Democrats, will apply to 50,000 buildings – from buildings with a few dozen apartments to Trump Tower, the president’s Fifth Avenue skyscraper which advocates have targeted as a major polluter.Sign up for the US morning briefing
“It will be the largest emissions reduction policy ever, in any city,” said the city councilman Costa Constantinides, who spearheaded the bills.
The law puts caps on how many tons of carbon a building may produce per square foot, with different limits for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
To reach them, many buildings will have to replace heating or air conditioning systems with more efficient models or put in better insulation and windows. Or, they can use electricity from clean sources like solar and hydropower, which will not produce emissions.
It is an attempt to tackle the biggest source of greenhouse gas in New York, where buildings account for about 67% of emissions.