The Council of the City of New York
Office of Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
November 13, 2014
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Constantinides Announces Unanimous Passage of His Bill to Reduce Carbon Emissions
New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced passage of his bill INT. 378, which mandates the city reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The bill unanimously passed the City Council with 42 Council co-sponsors, as well as Public Advocate James.
INT. 378 is an integral part of Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to make our City greener and the City Council’s forward-thinking policy platform to strengthen this City’s commitment to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future.
“We are a city that leads the way on housing, public health, and transportation policy, so we must continue to lead the way on environmental protection,” said Constantinides. “Combating climate change is a 21 Century issue that affects all New Yorkers and that’s why we must construct policies that keep us on par with global standards. There is probably no greater threat to our global civilization than climate change. I am proud that with INT. 378 we will be taking bold steps to provide 21st Century solutions to improve our resiliency, encourage public and private sector innovation, and bring technological progress. This paradigm will not only meet the challenges of climate change but also help reduce asthma, improve our overall health, and create new green jobs.”
“While rising seas and extreme weather events are likely to be part of New York City’s future, we can still prevent the worst outcomes,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Not only can we turn the tide of climate change, but as the most populous city in the country, and a global leader, we have a moral responsibility to do so.”
“Human activity, conspicuous consumption and a heavy reliance on fossil fuels have contributed to the steady advancement of climate change and to the detriment of our planet,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair to the Committee on Environmental Protection. “Intro 378 strengthens our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the standards set in PlaNYC, the 2003 Climate Protection Act and other sustainable initiatives. The 80% reduction by 2050 is certainly attainable and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the council to reach this goal.”
New York will be the largest city to to codify this goal into law. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is an indisputable link between our carbon emissions and receding ice sheets, extreme sea rise, and overall warmer climates worldwide.
Recent scientific consensus indicates that keeping the effects of climate change in a manageable range requires keeping average planetary temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Numerous scientific and government bodies have said that to meet this target, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and eliminate them almost entirely by the end of the century.
Environmental advocacy groups also voiced support of the legislation.
“As Superstorm Sandy painfully underscored, Queens and all of New York City are vulnerable to the effects of our changing climate. We must take action now, rather than delay to a time when the problem will be only more costly and challenging to fix,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This legislation will make New York the largest city in the world to commit to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2050. We salute Council Member Costa Constantinides, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Environmental Protection Chair Donovan Richards and the City Council for their environmental leadership, and we urge Mayor de Blasio to sign this bill into law without delay.”
“With this legislation, New York City has committed to doing what the international scientific community has called for from the entire developed world: an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. We applaud Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council for adopting this ambitious target. Now, the focus turns outlining a clear path to get us there, and that begins with the source of 75 percent of the city’s carbon consumption: its buildings.”
Evie Hantzopoulos, Executive Director of Global Kids Inc., said, “Our Global Kids youth leaders recognize that climate change is one of the biggest human rights issues facing our world, and they have been working tirelessly to address it. This forward-thinking law tells our youth and future generations that their well-being will not be compromised or forsaken.”
“I strongly support Council Member Constantinides’ bill to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in NYC,” said Justin Green, Program Director, Build It Green!NYC. “Climate change is happening and we need to act now to reduce its long term impact. Sea level rise and more powerful storms threaten our city. We must act now to be more energy efficient, install more renewable energy sources, and reduce the amount of waste we generate – to protect our city and the world from greater climate change.”
Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.