NYC fights to cut its biggest source of pollution

A new bill aims to cut emissions from large buildings

Manhattan by Night. Credit: Lerone Pieters

(NEW YORK, NY) — Back in July, we reported that Manhattan’s luxury buildings are responsible for around 50 percent of the city’s CO2 pollution. Since then, city lawmakers have been fighting to regulate energy usage in large buildings.

Costa Constantinides, a Queens Councilor who leads the council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, will introduce a bill this week that aims to cut pollution 40 percent by 2030. This timeline proposes emission cuts at a much faster rate than the original agreement back in August which aimed to cut emissions 40 to 60 percent by 2080.

The bill will protect large buildings that house rent-controlled units by sparing landlords from expensive retrofit requirements. This will prevent low-income residents from dealing with rent spikes.

Brooklyn and Staten Island have some of the lowest air quality during the day, according to Breezometer.

Constantinides is very confident the new bill will pass. Council Speaker Corey Johnson has agreed to co-sponsor the legislation, and Councilor Peter Koo has announced he will be the next co-sponsor. The bill also has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio. If approved, it will be put into effect in 2020.

As the fight to protect the environment heats up, people of power are stepping forward with solutions to make the city a healthier, more eco-friendly place.

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