*Reposted from Gotham Gazette. Written by Samar Khurshid. (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)*

New York’s Climate Mobilization Act of 2019, billed a “Green New Deal” for the city, included a groundbreaking law to cut carbon emissions by the biggest buildings, and the biggest polluters, in the city through caps and mandated energy upgrades and retrofits — or face financial penalties. The first set of emissions caps are set to go into effect in 2024, and the city has the complicated task ahead of setting new rules and regulations by the start of 2023, a formidable task with 10 months to go.

While Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is confident about meeting that schedule, advocates and elected officials have expressed some concern that his recently proposed budget doesn’t allocate sufficient funding or staff behind the effort. Those concerns are on top of prior criticism from some that the new mayor, a Democrat who took office January 1, that he and his administration parrott real estate industry talking points pushing back against the new law.

About 71% of emissions in New York City come from buildings, particularly about 50,000 structures over 25,000 square feet. Local Law 97, which was part of the Climate Mobilization Act, aims to cut emissions from the largest buildings by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. The law requires that property owners make improvements and upgrades to their energy systems to comply with the new emissions caps.

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