In December 2021, New York City Council passed a bill “that prohibits the combustion of fossil fuels in new buildings, effectively phasing out the use of gas for cooking and heating,” reported The Verge, making New York the largest city to do so.
Now climate activists will push for the concept at the state level, by way of legislation sponsored by North Brooklyn’s own Assemblymember Emily Gallagher and State Senator Brian Kavanagh.
Gallagher and Kavanagh joined climate activists and organizations alike for a Zoom press conference on January 11th to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to support the bill and incorporate it into the annual state budget.
In her recent State of the State address, Governor Hochul expressed her support for a statewide ban on fossil fuels in new buildings, though many climate activists do not feel that her projected phase out by 2027 is an aggressive enough goal for facing the realities of climate change. Gallagher and Kavanagh’s bill, entitled The All-Electric Buildings Act, would require the transition to electric technology in new construction to take place by 2024.
The legislation only concerns new construction, not with retrofitting older buildings.
“Buildings account for one-third of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions. There is no path for us meeting our state’s climate goals without tackling this industry,” said Assemblymember Gallagher. The assembly member also touted the bill as a job creator and highlighted its potential positive impact on cutting down air pollution.
“We want as rapid as possible implementation,” said Senator Kavanagh. “Our bill takes a slightly different approach in that it does have some ability if there were a building that needed to be constructed, and there was absolutely no feasible way to do it without fossil fuel, they might be able to do it after the date of this bill. But our sense is that given that this technology is so readily available…we think that this is implementable statewide.”
It is the hope that this bill can help the state meet the climate goals that they have set for themselves. “In 2019, New York passed a law requiring the state to reach net-zero emissions by 2050,” reports Yahoo! News. “Currently, New York still relies on fossil fuels including natural gas to produce much of its electricity, but it has a goal, also mandated in state law, of reaching 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.”