In response to the growing climate crisis, officials in New York City approved Local Law 97 in 2019, a historic legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
Reducing building emissions is crucial for achieving a full transition to clean energy in New York. Local Law 97 has been acclaimed as a bold policy that seeks to address the climate crisis with strong measures. Specifically, it requires building owners to reduce carbon emissions in their buildings by 40 percent by 2030 and to ensure they are emissions-free by 2050. These are ambitious goals, but their urgency cannot be overstated.
This is the first year that Local Law 97 is being implemented. However, an article by Gothamist revealed that only 11 employees from the New York City Department of Buildings are responsible for conducting compliance reviews on the over 50,000 buildings covered by the law, highlighting the serious and concerning lack of commitment from Mayor Eric Adams towards its implementation. A single inspector cannot review and enforce compliance plans for over 4,500 large buildings in a year. Based on the traditional model of 260 working days in a year, that would require reading, analyzing, and verifying over 17 plans per day.
Our decision-makers know that addressing building emissions in New York City is an essential and urgent step in combating the climate crisis, but the city needs to allocate sufficient resources in terms of personnel, funding, technical assistance, and more to ensure the successful implementation of Local Law 97. Instead, the mayor has committed funding and personnel at levels that are sadly inadequate and guarantee that the program’s rollout will be hindered and inefficient.
We do not have time for the delays that will surely arise from this lack of funding and deprioritization. If New York is serious about meeting its climate goals, the city must uphold its stated priorities and provide the necessary resources for programs to effectively fulfill their legislative mandates. Truly achieving building emissions reduction will have far-reaching benefits, even beyond mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. Building emissions are a major contributor to air pollution in New York City, worsening respiratory illnesses such as asthma and other health issues for vulnerable New Yorkers.
Reducing building emissions through policies like Local Law 97 will improve air quality and promote public health for New Yorkers at the forefront of both the climate crisis and public health, including low-income individuals, people of color, older adults, and children.
New York City has a choice to make right now. Will it fulfill its stated commitment to be a global climate leader by ensuring the successful implementation of Local Law 97? Or will it continue to divest from Local Law 97’s success through lack of funding and personnel?
With budget season underway, it is time for the mayor to back up his words with actions if he truly cares about our communities. For the implementation of Local Law 97 to be successful in practice, the city must provide resources and staffing capacity, and create jobs to make it work.
Frequently Asked Questions about New York City’s Local Law 97:
1. What is Local Law 97?
Local Law 97 is a historic legislation approved in 2019 by New York City officials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
2. What is the goal of Local Law 97?
The goal of Local Law 97 is to reduce carbon emissions in buildings by 40% by 2030 and ensure they are emissions-free by 2050.
3. Why is it important to reduce building emissions?
Reducing building emissions is crucial for transitioning to clean energy in New York and addressing the climate crisis.
4. How many employees are responsible for conducting compliance reviews on buildings covered by Local Law 97?
According to an article by Gothamist, only 11 employees from the New York City Department of Buildings are responsible for conducting compliance reviews on over 50,000 buildings covered by the law.
5. What is the current status of Local Law 97 implementation?
The implementation of Local Law 97 is facing serious challenges due to the lack of commitment from Mayor Eric Adams, who has not allocated sufficient resources and personnel to conduct compliance reviews.
6. Why is it important to allocate sufficient resources for Local Law 97 implementation?
Allocating sufficient resources in terms of personnel, funding, and technical assistance is crucial to achieving the successful implementation of Local Law 97 and meeting New York’s climate goals.
7. What are the benefits of reducing building emissions?
Reducing building emissions will improve air quality and promote public health for New Yorkers, including low-income individuals, people of color, older adults, and children.
– New York City Department of Buildings website
– Official website of the City of New York