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Council Members joined a diverse coalition of labor, community, and environmental advocates in support of two proposals outlined in the “Climate Works for All” report. The publication identifies priorities for reducing emissions that lead to climate change and creating good jobs in New York City. Today, before a hearing on the City’s OneNYC sustainability plan by the Council’s Committees on Environmental Protection and Recovery and Resiliency, Caucus members will rally with the Climate Works for All coalition to prioritize two specific initiatives described below. 

1. Require that all buildings over 25,000 square feet are energy efficient by 2050
The City should update the NYC Energy Conservation Code to Passive House and Zero Net Energy standards by 2030 with interim benchmarks, as well as expand the Greener Greater Buildings law to all buildings 25,000 sq. ft. and above (currently in effect for buildings over 50,000 sq. ft.). This will ensure that new buildings and buildings undergoing alterations meet the most stringent energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. The city should require that the “worst emitters” according to the Energy Benchmarking Law meet energy reduction targets immediately. To ensure program flexibility, compliance alternatives should be established in addition to financial support for affordable housing-specific energy efficiency measures. Lastly, we recommend creating incentives to encourage high-road labor standards, apprenticeship utilization and local hiring.

2. Assess and expand renewable energy in public schools
The City needs to conduct a full assessment and create a comprehensive plan for renewable energy installations in schools. The assessments will focus on key renewable energy opportunities, emphasizing solar, wind and geothermal options, as well as energy efficiency opportunities. We must also establish plans for community engagement, transparency and benefits sharing agreements for renewable energy installations. Any renewable energy installation projects should align with school capital project labor standards. Full Release

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY:

“The commitment made last year in the OneNYC plan to make New York a more sustainable, resilient city by transitioning to renewable energy was a huge step towards preventing climate change,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Co-Chair of the Caucus. “As we work toward that grander goal, we need to be thinking about ways to reduce carbon emissions in every decision we make and the recent ‘Climate Works for All’ report outlines several ways to help attain that goal while also creating good paying jobs. After breaking ground on the first and largest Passive House in the city in the Rockaways recently, updating the Energy Conservation Code to that standard and creating interim benchmarks will ensure that we are on track. Implementing a comprehensive plan for solar panels and other sources of renewable energy will also allow the city to avoid falling behind the goal of getting renewable energy into all schools. I’d like to thank coalitions for taking an in-depth look at innovative ideas that can help make New York City the greenest it can possibly be.”

“As countries are coming together to discuss creating an international climate agenda, we have to step up to do our part locally.  The Climate Works for All proposals not only support the Administration’s sustainability goals as outlined in OneNYC, they create green job opportunities for New Yorkers.,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Co-Chair of the Caucus.

“We are proud to stand here today and endorse a major part of the ‘Climate Works for All’ platform,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “Good jobs and environmental protection go hand in hand. As we seek to build more sustainable and resilient communities, we may also develop careers and create economic opportunity for working people.”

“As chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, my priority is to ensure that not only to we take realistic steps to end the affordable housing crisis, but also ensure that any new development is the most energy efficient as possible. That not only extends to housing, but to other developments such as commercial developments and even public schools.  I’m proud to endorse ‘Climate Works for All,’ which would, in part, require that large buildings are energy efficient by 2050 and that renewable sources of energy are expanded at our city’s public schools,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

“Climate Works for All is a great step forward for our city’s sustainability efforts and an example to cities across the country,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice-Chair of the Caucus. “Through redefining the way we approach the built environment, education, and workforce development, it will demonstrate that we can create an environmental agenda filled with opportunity.”

“About 75% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. Climate Works for All will target emissions from large buildings while upholding strong labor standards,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Vice-Chair of the Caucus.

“We need to act now to protect all New Yorkers – particularly low-income workers and communities of color that stand to be disproportionately impacted by sea level rise and extreme weather caused by global climate change. This diverse coalition of community, labor and environmental advocates underscores the reality that climate change affects us all, and must be confronted head on,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, member of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency.  These two initiatives are crucial to achieving our City’s goal of increasing our reliance on renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint – all while creating local jobs in the growing green energy sector. As world leaders continue to discuss global action on climate change in Paris, we must not forget the importance of local action to meet this historic challenge. Nothing less than the future of our children and grandchildren is at stake.”

“The proposals outlined in the Climate for All report presents our City with the unique opportunity to be proactive about climate change and to create good jobs, and educational opportunities. If our City is going to be a leader on environmental sustainability—especially at the community level—we need commitments like the one presented here that speak loudly about our goals. I am proud to be a supporter of the tenants listed here,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, member of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency.

“New York City has been the tip of the spear in the fight against climate change,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Smart policy changes like reducing carbon emissions stemming from our buildings, the number one source of greenhouse gases in New York City, will maintain our place as global leaders and help us drive the urban agenda going forward. Using renewable energy sources in our schools is also impactful and provides a unique learning opportunity for our children left to inherit our planet. We must continue to be aggressive in combating climate change and I am proud to join my colleagues in this endeavor as our future depends on it.”

“As global leaders meet to chart a more sustainable path for the future, ensuring that New York City leads the way in this area has always been a priority of mine, which means constantly ensuring that our buildings are held to the highest standards. I endorse the green energy proposals in the Climate Works for All document because they help ensure a clean, green future for our children and grandchildren, as well as an innovative and vibrant economy that can lead the nation in sustainable practices,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

“New York City must be a global leader on sustainability and emissions reduction,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “This begins by equipping our public facilities to be energy efficient and enforcing strict emissions standards for new construction. Just as leaders of the world are meeting in France to forge a path for a greener future, we need to do our part in New York City by implementing bold and decisive solutions to confront climate change. I thank my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus for taking bold action on this critical issue.”

IN THE NEWS

Politico NY, Progressive caucus pushes two energy policies

Crain’s NY, The mayor must get tough with NYC’s biggest energy guzzlers: its buildings

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