New York City to cut greenhouse gas emissions
The Climate Protection Act establishes benchmarks that the city must reach as it curbs its emissions, including a 30 percent reduction in emissions made by city operations by 2017 and a 30 percent reduction in citywide emissions by 2030.
The new bill is intended to strengthen PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to green New York, by putting the force of law behind its goal to reduce the city’s emission of greenhouse gases.
Created by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat close to the Earth, raising the planetary temperature. The effect of 8.1 million New Yorkers cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next 23 years could help keep global emissions levels manageable.
Aging infrastructure, growing population
The Climate Protection Act is an important part of City Council’s effort to guarantee that New York City remains green, clean and sustainable in the face of its aging infrastructure and growing population, and to help ensure the city stays on track toward responsible and sustainable environmental policy, the Council says.
“The landmark New York City Climate Protection Act will not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our city, it will also foster awareness of climate-change issues and encourage people to become part of this movement to protect our environment,” says Environmental Protection Committee Chair James Gennaro, prime sponsor of the measure.
The bill requires annual emission inventories, analyses and reports, as well as public education and outreach programs.
The designated office or agency in charge will complete and post on its Web site an annual inventory and analysis of citywide emissions, measured in CO2 equivalent, and calculate the percentage change in citywide and city government emissions each year.
The first report on such emissions is due Sept. 17, 2008, and every subsequent Sept. 17 thereafter. If the office or agency determines that the required reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is not feasible, it must make recommendations to achieve the legislation’s targets.
City Council hopes that spreading awareness will encourage private entities to make greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts. The legislation calls for the creation and implementation of voluntary global warming emissions reduction programs to encourage private entities operating within New York City to commit to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions.