New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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City Dedicates $4 Million and 36 Staff to Enforce Carbon Emissions Law

New York City

Local Law 97, carbon emissions, city enforecement, co-op and condo boards.
May 3, 2024

Is your co-op or condo board hopeful that city staffs will be stretched too thin to enforce the building carbon emissions caps that went into effect at the beginning of the year under Local Law 97?

If so, fuggedaboutit.

Mayor Eric Adams' proposed executive budget for the 2025 fiscal year allocates $4 million and 36 new full-time staffers to enforce the city’s landmark decarbonization law that began to take effect for some 50,000 buildings on Jan. 1, Crain's reports.

The new full-time positions would more than double the current team of 22 people working in the Department of Buildings preparing to enforce Local Law 97. With the additional staff, the city would have a total of 58 people dedicated to the implementation and enforcement of the law. That would be a dramatic uptick from the sparse team of 11 the DOB said it had focused on the issue in February, and would help ensure the measure has teeth in enforcing reluctant building owners to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The allocation of millions of dollars to enforce the city's sweeping Climate Mobilization Act is the result of a process known as "climate budgeting.

"“Every dollar has to do double duty now — it has to not only do its purpose in terms of building out infrastructure or providing energy, but it also has to lower emissions, cool, absorb water,” Meera Joshi, New York’s Deputy Mayor for Operations, tells Bloomberg City Lab. “And that is the only way that New York City will survive.”

The city's goal is to cut its carbon emissions 80% by 2050. About two-thirds of those emissions come from buildings. Most buildings are under the emission caps that went into effect on Jan. 1, but those that are not will be required to report their 2024 greenhouse gas emissions by May 2025. If a building exceeds its carbon cap, owners will face fines of $268 for every ton of carbon dioxide over the limit. That could translate to fines of tens of thousands of dollars each year. The caps become more stringent and affect more buildings in 2030 and in future years.

Supporters of Local Law 97 were heartened by the city's move to beef up its enforcement efforts. Shravanthi Kanekal, senior resiliency planner for the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, says: “This is definitely a step in the right direction.”

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