In This Section

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Contact: Sarah Crean // // 646-763-0143 

City Council Votes to Strengthen & Expand Landmark Climate Legislation

Per New Legislation Introduced by CM Rosenthal,

City of NY & Public Housing Properties Will Be Held to Same Emissions Reductions Standards as Private Sector; Enforcement Mechanism Created

NEW YORK — Today the City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation introduced by Council Member Helen Rosenthal to both strengthen and expand the reach of the landmark climate bill — Local Law 97.

New York City’s buildings account for approximately two-thirds of our current greenhouse gas emissions. Local Law 97, which was passed by the City Council in 2019, is absolutely critical to fighting climate change by requiring drastic reductions in these emissions.

The success of Local Law 97 is imperative. The law currently mandates that most buildings over 25,000 square feet meet new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions limits. The long-term goal is an 80 percent reduction by 2050 for emissions produced by the city’s largest buildings, which will help to make New York City carbon neutral.

The legislation passed today, Intro 2283, addresses two major deficiencies in Local Law 97: the lack of an enforcement mechanism for City-owned buildings (the City and its related authorities own or lease over 17,000 properties); and the exclusion of public housing developments.

“We have a tremendous responsibility to take action on climate change while we still can, and I am proud that we are passing such a meaningful bill today,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “It’s very important to stress that the success of Intro 2283 will depend on adequate investments by the City for enforcement of Local Law 97 going forward.”

Intro 2283 will: 

1.) Create a mechanism to ensure that buildings under the purview of the NYC Dept of Citywide Administrative Services are — like the private sector — following the rigorous standards for carbon emissions set forth in Local Law 97;

2.) Include NYCHA buildings within the reporting requirements of the law; and 

3.) Mandate that emissions tracking will apply to all newly budgeted City capital projects (as posted in the 5 and 10 year commitment plans). The reporting deadline has been changed to ensure it captured the most current capital budget.

Per Intro 2283 — emissions reductions will be tracked as follows:

For NYCHA properties: GHG reductions (for existing buildings and future capital projects) will be included in the existing Local Law 31/32 reports that go to the City Council Speaker every December.

For City government properties: GHG reductions (for existing buildings and future capital projects) will be posted annually on the website of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability.

“NYC-EJA commends Council Member Rosenthal’s efforts in pushing for legislation that would require publicly owned buildings to abide by Local Law 97’s rigorous emissions standards. LL97 will have the single most significant impact on reductions to the city’s climate pollution to date, and will be a critical path to mitigate the threat of climate change in the most vulnerable communities. We support this expansion of LL97 via Intro 2283 to strengthen emissions tracking and reduce building emissions across the city.” said Shravanthi Kanekal, Resiliency Planner, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

“We applaud Speaker Johnson, Council Member Rosenthal, and the New York City Council for passing Introduction 2283 because it will require the city to annually report the greenhouse gas emissions of buildings that are owned or operated by the City, including State-owned New York City Housing Authority developments,” explained Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “This is critical to ensuring that the City and its agencies are doing their part to reduce these emissions and meet the goals set by Local Law 97, and will establish a mechanism to measure and report such emissions – thereby paving the way to establishing a mechanism to enforce Local Law 97.”

“Data is the cornerstone of effective climate action,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “This bill will help ensure the City leads by example with transparent, data-based capital upgrades that reduce GHG emissions and improve NYCHA buildings and City-owned properties.”

“Intro 2283 is a common sense amendment that will ensure that all New Yorkers can become climate resilient. Expanding the reach of Local Law 97 by requiring publicly-owned buildings to follow rigorous emission standards will make significant inroads towards addressing racial inequities, fight climate change, and set New York City on the right path toward a just recovery for all. We thank Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal for her leadership on this,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN. 

“The need to make all our buildings more efficient is more urgent than ever as we face an escalating climate crisis and the unequal pollution burdens caused by fossil fuel energy production and associated toxic emissions.  This bill will strengthen the landmark Climate Mobilization Act and ensure that we invest in NYCHA and government buildings, while creating a good green jobs pipeline in the communities that most need cleaner air and climate protection,” said Justin Wood, Director of Policy, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  

“We have limited time to address climate change and must reduce emissions from buildings to reach our ambitious climate goals. We need to measure and be transparent with both the problem and actions to tackle them. Intro 2283 will help ensure more public buildings are reporting on their emissions, as well as actions being planned to reduce emissions, which is an important step. We thank Council Member Rosenthal for her leadership to improve Local Law 97,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.  

“The Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums enthusiastically supports Council member Rosenthal’s efforts to ensure that all New York property owners – including the City itself – participate in the efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and our dependence on fossil fuels. Essential to success will be substantial support from the City in the form of grants, incentive programs, and expertise such as is available through the NYC Accelerator,” said Mary Ann Rothman, Executive Director, Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums.

“New York City’s efforts to fight climate change will both preserve the long-term health of the Big Apple and create new opportunities within the building industry,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Today’s action by the New York City Council helps provide a clear blueprint on how we can shrink our carbon footprint, ensuring we maximize our reductions in public housing and account for emissions in capital projects. The New York Building Congress applauds the Council for this action.”