Many co-op and condo boards are terrified of it, but New York City’s ambitious Climate Mobilization Act has made this America’s top city for efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new scorecard compiled by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Runners-up were Boston and Seattle, followed by Minneapolis and San Francisco.
The scorecard analyzes the efforts of 100 major U.S. cities – home to 19% of the nation’s population – to make buildings and transportation more energy efficient while scaling up the use of renewable energy. The scorecard provides the most comprehensive national measuring stick for climate progress and a roadmap for future improvements. It analyzes cities’ efforts in five areas: buildings policies; local government operations; community-wide initiatives; energy and water utilities; and transportation policies.
“Many cities are really seizing the moment and embracing policies that help them fight climate change, while too many others are, frankly, doing very little,” says David Ribeiro, director of ACEEE’s local policy program and the lead report author. “We want to show all the cities, even the leaders, the further steps they can take to cut carbon emissions most effectively and equitably.”
New York earned the most points and was the only city to receive all possible points for adopting buildings policies that encourage or require efficiency improvements in existing buildings. Under the city’s Climate Mobilization Act, buildings larger than 25,000 square feet – including co-ops and condominiums – must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by specified levels in 2024 and again in 2030, or pay stiff fines. Some co-op and condo boards won’t have to do anything. Energy professionals estimate that 80% of affected buildings already are compliant for 2024, and a quarter already are compliant for 2030. Everyone else needs to get busy.
Mark Chambers, director of sustainability for the City of New York, adds: "This recognition is meaningful for our city, and a result of determined efforts by dedicated government and community leaders. There is still urgent action needed from New York, and all cities, if we are to truly confront the climate emergency."
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