Watch out exhaust-spilling sports utility vehicles. Move over inefficient light
bulbs. The New York City Council wants to replace you with more energy efficient
At its Stated Meeting Wednesday, the council approved legislation that would
reduce New York City's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The measure
echoes a call by Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this year in his
The council also passed a bill to make block-by-block parking regulations available
online as well as a measure creating "greener" design standards for
the city's parking lots.
New York City produces approximately 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions -
the pollutants that cause global warming - in the United States and about as
much as Ireland or Switzerland, according to
Nearly 80 percent of the emissions in New York City are attributed to pollution
from buildings, while about 20 percent come from transportation.
The bill, titled the Climate Protection Act
20), would first take aim at emissions spilling from government buildings,
cutting that by 30 percent by 2017. It then mandates citywide emissions be slashed
by 30 percent by 2030, including toxic fumes from private institutions and corporations.
The bill was approved by a vote of 48 to 0.
James Gennaro, chairman of the council's Environmental Protection Committee,
initially introduced the bill in early 2006 calling for a 30 percent reduction
of emissions from government buildings by 2020. He said the council worked with
the administration to include non-governmental organizations and businesses in
the emission reduction plan. A private business or organization will not be fined
if they do not comply with the new regulations. It will be up to the city to
reduce emissions, said Gennaro.
Corporations, businesses and residents, though, will have a financial benefit
from using green technology and reducing their carbon footprint, said Gennaro.
By using green technology, they will be less reliant on fossil fuels, and their
energy cost will decrease.
If you don’t get on board, you'll be paying higher fuel costs and left
outside the mainstream," said Gennaro.
The 30 percent reduction will be based on 2005 figures. To comply with the legislation,
businesses and residents could consider using energy efficient light bulbs, furnaces
and boilers, city officials said. Council Speaker Christine Quinn could not estimate
the cost to an individual business, but other officials said a initial investment
in green technology can pay off far more in the long term.
When asked what incentive businesses would have to reduce emissions and whether
the city could meet its goal without penalties for noncompliance, Quinn said, "We
believe the track record of business today as it relates to environmental issues
will get us to that goal."
To ensure the city is meeting its goal, annual reports will be submitted to the
administration, other agencies and posted on the web that measure emissions from
both public and private entities.
Green Parking Standards
The council also unanimously approved new design standards (Res 1179) for parking
lots, which include the addition of trees and vegetation for lots with more than
If a lot has more than 18 spaces a tree will be required every 25 feet. According
to Land Use Committee Chairwoman Melinda Katz, parking lots with more than 36
spaces would also need to include interior landscaping.
The vegetation will not only improve the aesthetics of the lots, but also will
prevent storm water runoff, officials said.
The regulation will apply only to new lots and those that have expanded by more
than 20 percent.
For New Yorkers who are perplexed by the contradictory street signs strewn throughout
their block, a so-called solution is here. The council approved a bill
537-A) requiring the Department of Transportation to create a searchable
Web site that details parking regulations for every block in the city.
Transportation Committee Chairman John Liu said the regulation would not burden
the city with an additional cost. The Department of Transportation already collects
the information, and the bill merely requires that that information be accessible
and readily available to the public.
Almost every single block in the city of New York has some sort of parking restriction," said
Liu. "There are not only confusing parking signs on these blocks, but in
fact contradictory signs."
The bill takes effect in September 2009. Â
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