On April 19, New York City passed a law that bans the use of natural gas in new buildings. The law, which was proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, is part of New York City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), buildings that use natural gas are responsible for one-third of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, natural gas leaks can cause environmental damage and contribute to climate change.
The new law will affect all new buildings in New York City, including residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. Buildings that already use natural gas will be allowed to use it, but no new buildings will be allowed to use natural gas. New buildings will be required to use electricity or steam generated by central heating plants, which will contribute to New York City’s goal of using 100 percent renewable power in all buildings by 2030.
The New York Times reports that the law was passed “amidst a growing national debate over how much cities should invest in climate change.” New York City is not the first US city to implement such restrictions; Portland, Oregon implemented similar restrictions in December 2018, and San Francisco already had bans on natural gas usage for new buildings and plans on lowering greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings 50 percent by 2020