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Cornell Real Estate Review

Abstract

In May 2019, the City of New York passed the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), the most ambitious climate legislation ever enacted by any city or county in the State of New York. The CMA mandates the reduction of the City’s overall carbon emissions by 80 percent within 20 years. Generally, buildings are responsible for 70 percent of the City’s emissions – by far the highest percentage of any sector (Climate Mobilization Act: Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, 2019). Building emissions are likely only to increase compared to other sectors, such as transportation, which have had a head start in reducing their carbon emissions. Given buildings’ contributions to carbon emissions and the lack of significant progress to date, this legislation is seen by many as overdue. With numerous large developments occurring throughout the City, this legislation could yield major long-term improvements to the environment. In fact, “the Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City – one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change,” Council Member Costa Constantinides said in a statement before the bill was passed (New York City Council [NYCC], 2019). With the help of Constantinides, the CMA also included Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing – a voluntary financing mechanism that enables energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to receive long-term financing for little or no money down – to assist building owners in complying with the CMA (NYCC, 2019).

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