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Adapting to Climate Change: The Significance of Local Law 97 in NYC

Updated: May 25

New York City, a global hub of culture and commerce, is also increasingly becoming a leader in the fight against climate change. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of Local Law 97, a critical piece of legislation within the Climate Mobilization Act, and how it plays a pivotal role in helping NYC adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

The Climate Mobilization Act

The Climate Mobilization Act, passed in 2019, is a comprehensive package of climate-focused legislation aimed at reducing the city's greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing its resilience to climate impacts. At its core is Local Law 97, which specifically addresses the carbon emissions produced by buildings, one of the city's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Key Provisions of Local Law 97

Local Law 97 introduces several key provisions to tackle climate change and adapt to its effects:

1. Emissions Caps: The law establishes emissions caps for buildings over 25,000 square feet, with limits varying based on occupancy and building type. These caps are designed to become increasingly stringent over time.

2. Carbon Trading: To facilitate compliance with emissions caps, Local Law 97 allows building owners to engage in carbon trading. This means that if a building exceeds its emissions cap, it can offset the excess emissions by purchasing carbon credits from more energy-efficient buildings.

3. Incentives for Sustainability: Building owners are incentivized to invest in energy-efficient upgrades and green technologies through financial incentives like tax credits and low-interest loans.

Significance of Local Law 97

1. Emissions Reduction: By targeting emissions from large buildings, Local Law 97 plays a vital role in NYC's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is crucial for mitigating the city's contribution to global climate change.

2. Adaptation and Resilience: New York City is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise and extreme weather events. Local Law 97 encourages building owners to make their properties more resilient and adaptable to withstand these challenges.

3. Economic Opportunities: The law fosters economic growth by creating jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable construction. It also stimulates private sector investment in green technologies and innovations.

4. Global Influence: NYC's commitment to sustainability and climate resilience through Local Law 97 sets an example for other cities worldwide. It demonstrates that urban centers can take proactive measures to address climate change and prepare for its impacts.


Local Law 97 is a vital piece of legislation that underscores New York City's commitment to adapting to climate change and reducing its carbon footprint. By addressing emissions from buildings, the law is a significant step towards achieving the city's sustainability goals and building a more resilient urban environment.

As NYC continues to implement Local Law 97 and other climate-focused initiatives, it serves as a beacon of hope and a model for cities worldwide. By taking action on the local level, NYC demonstrates that meaningful change is possible in the fight against climate change, inspiring others to follow suit. In a rapidly changing world, Local Law 97 is helping to secure a more sustainable and resilient future for the city and its residents.


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