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New York unveils plan to cut building CO2 emissions

Update: September, 15/2017 - 11:00

NEW YORK  New York has revealed an initiative that would mandate thousands of buildings throughout the city become more energy efficient, the latest step in the city’s push to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan would require that landlords of some 14,500 buildings with a surface area of over 2,300 square metres modernise boilers, water heaters, roofs and windows -- or face annual fines according to the extent of the breach and size of the building, the mayor’s office said on Thursday in a statement.

A skyscraper of over 1.7 million square feet, such as the iconic Chrysler Building, could incur an annual fine of some $2 million if its energy use significantly exceeds efficiency targets.

Under the new rules, landlords would need to meet those standards by 2030.

"We must shed our buildings’ reliance on fossil fuels here and now," said New York’s Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio in the statement, adding that the initiative was a bid to "honor the goals of the Paris Agreement."

The 14,500 buildings in question -- the city’s worst in terms of energy efficiency -- account for 24 per cent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the mayor’s office.

Meanwhile fossil fuel consumption via boilers and water heaters is the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, responsible for 42 per cent of the total.

In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy unleashed fury on New York. In the devastating storm’s aftermath the city has implemented efforts to tackle climate change -- which it has vowed to continue despite Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the global Paris climate pact in June.

The new measures are expected to reduce total emissions by seven percent by 2035 and create 17,000 jobs in carrying out the retrofits. — AFP

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