FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

April 18, 2019
Contact: Terence Cullen
718-274-4500

New York City Council
Passes Bold, Sweeping Climate Mobilization Act

Legislative Package Sets
New York City on Course for a Brighter, Greener, Safer Future

New
York City Hall —
The New York City Council today voted in favor of the Climate Mobilization
Act, a nine-piece legislative package to fight the growing effects of climate
change on the City’s future. Together, the bills significantly reduce carbon
emissions from large buildings, better optimize their roofs for green planting
and renewable energy, and take the first steps to fostering clean power
throughout the five boroughs.

“The
Climate Mobilization Act is a downpayment on the future of New York City — one
that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change,”
said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on
Environmental Protection
. “Today, we sent that message to the world by
enacting the boldest mandate to reduce carbon emissions, tackling one of the
biggest drivers of climate change. This represents over two years of engagement
with the various communities, industries and everyday New Yorkers impacted by
climate change. We are answering the call for bold action we’ve heard from the
IPCC, Donald Trump’s own National Climate Assessment, and the City’s own panel
on climate change. Such a historic day would not be possible without the
leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, the support of my colleagues in the New
York City Council, or the advocacy of dedicated New Yorkers who want to ensure
our home is here another 400 years.”

The
Clean Tower Plan, Intro. 1253-C, anchors the Climate Mobilization Act
and mandates large buildings collectively reduce their carbon footprint a
collective 40% by 2030. Though buildings 25,000 square feet or larger account
for 2% of the one million structures in New York City, they emit 30% of our
greenhouse gases annually. Different building classes are assigned a specific
carbon emission reduction number in the bill, which owners will have
flexibility on how best to hit that target. An Office of Building Energy and
Emissions Performance will be established within the Department of Buildings to
work with owners on how best to hit their emissions number. When signed into
law, this will be the largest carbon emissions reduction mandate every enacted
by any city — anywhere.

The
Council also approved:

  • Intro. 1252: Constantinides’ bill to establish a low-cost PACE program to
    finance upgrades required under the clean tower plan.
  • Intro. 1317: Constantinides’ bill to clear red tape currently making it
    difficult to erect large wind turbines in New York City.
  • Intro. 1318: Constantinides’ bill requiring the City determine by 2021 which of
    the 21 gas-fired power plants across the five boroughs can be feasibly closed
    in favor of renewable energy sources and batteries to store the power.
  • Intro. 276: Council Member Donovan Richards’ bill to promote green roofs —
    natural planting, solar panel and small wind turbine installations — on
    buildings five stories or smaller.  
  • Intro. 1031: Council Member Rafael Espinal’s bill requiring transparency within
    the Office of Alternative Energy.
  • Intro. 1032: Espinal’s bill promoting green roof installations on certain
    larger buildings.
  • Reso. 66: Council Member Stephen Levin’s resolution calls on New York State
    to increase the tax abatement for installing green roofs to $15 per square
    foot.
  • Reso. 845: Constantinides, Speaker Johnson and Richards’ resolution calling
    on the NYSDEC to block the application to construct the Williams Pipeline.

“After
increasingly dire warnings about the harm we are doing to the planet, climate
change is now part of the national conversation. But raising awareness about
the environmental consequences will have a limited impact unless we back it up
with action. The Climate Mobilization Act is the most ambitious plan in the
country to seize control of our climate destiny and set a course toward a more
sustainable future for our city. I want to thank Council Member Constantinides
and Speaker Johnson for their leadership. Today is a historic day – not only
for New York City, but for the entire planet,” said Council Member Rafael
Espinal.

“I
am proud to be a co-sponsor of Introduction 1253 as it sets ambitious,
comprehensive standards on New York City’s worst polluters, old buildings. By
modernizing buildings to raise efficiency standards we will dramatically cut
pollution long term,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Retrofitting for
efficiency and sustainability will reduce our City’s carbon footprint and
create thousands of much-needed, good paying jobs.”  

“Climate
change is a human rights issue. It is an economic, racial, and immigrants’
rights issue. And with these bills, New York City is sending a message to the
world: we are ready to protect our planet and our children’s’ futures,” said City
Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration
. “The
effort needed to make this happen took years and my colleague, Council Member
Constantinides, deserves recognition for leading this fight. I proudly stand
with Speaker Johnson and the rest of my colleagues in supporting the boldest
climate legislation of any city in the country.”

Multiple
reports last year — published at the international, federal, and local level —
warn of catastrophic circumstances as soon as 2030 without government taking
real action now. The National Climate Assessment, published in November, warned
the New York region could see up to 100,000 climate refugees by 2100 due to
intense flooding and other effects from this phenomenon. Areas such as the
Rockaways, Coney Island, Staten Island could see regular flooding in the coming
decades unless bold steps are taken to decrease carbon emissions from large
buildings and the electrical grid.

For
decades, advocates such as District Council 37, AFSCME, ALIGN, New York
Communities for Change, Climate Works for All, the Working Families Party of
New York, and many others have sought to clean up large buildings and
transition to less expensive, cleaner renewable energy.

“Today
is a great day in New York City. Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Johnson,
and the relentless efforts of Environmental Protection Committee chair
Constantinides, the City Council has passed vital legislation that will help
curb the dangers of climate change, create good-paying jobs and give our
children an environmentally safer future in the city we love,” said Henry
Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37, AFSCME
.

Council
Member 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
Environmental Protection Committee and sits on four additional committees:
Sanitation, Resiliency, and Land Use, as well as the sub-committee on Zoning
and Franchises. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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