NYC Environmental Justice Advocates Respond To Mayor de Blasio’s Fossil Fuel Ban

On behalf of our staff, 800-plus members, and the more than 650,000 residents of Northern Manhattan, WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT) thanks New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

WE ACT thanks them for his bold leadership in signing a ban on the use of natural gas and oil in new construction by at least 2030.

It is a step forward in achieving the City’s legislative mandate under the Climate Mobilization Act, which requires buildings in excess of 25,000 square feet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

It is a step forward in achieving the City’s legislative mandate under the Climate Mobilization Act, which requires buildings in excess of 25,000 square feet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.


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“While we applaud the Mayor for this bold move, and the message it sends to other cities and municipalities around the world, we need to do this well before 2030,” said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “We need to start this transition next year – in 2022. And we need to expand it to include gut renovations.

“In addition, we must ensure that this happens in a just and equitable way,” added Jessel. “Low-income communities and communities of color bear disproportionately higher energy and pollution burdens as well as disproportionately greater impacts from climate change. We must prioritize these communities when transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, ensuring that they can afford the new energy and benefit from the jobs and infrastructure that will be created by this shift.”

In New York City, buildings are the greatest source of air pollution – even more than all the trucks, buses, and cars combined.

Buildings produce nearly 70-percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for climate change.

Buildings produce nearly 70-percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for climate change.

Natural gas is used throughout the city for heating, cooking, and power generation. Eliminating it will dramatically reduce air pollution, including indoor air pollution.

In fact, studies have shown that cooking with a gas stove just once a week can produce 60-percent more pollution inside your home than would be legally permissible outdoors.

And living in a home with a gas stove can increase a child’s risk of asthma by as much as 42 percent.

And living in a home with a gas stove can increase a child’s risk of asthma by as much as 42 percent. Similarly, heating oil – which is used to heat buildings and water – also produces significant air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Not only does the banning of fossil fuels in buildings improve the air quality and health of all New Yorkers, but it makes it more possible to transition to renewable energy.

Solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy generate electricity, so it is essential to have electric appliances – such as induction stoves and air-source heat pumps – to take advantage of this clean power.

And setting an ambitious target date for the elimination of fossil fuels should serve as a catalyst for developers and others to embrace renewable energy sources and build buildings equipped to be powered by them.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.

WE ACT has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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