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How NYC's Local Law 97 Sets a New Standard in Urban Environmentalism

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

New York City, often referred to as "The Big Apple," is known for its iconic skyline, bustling streets, and vibrant culture. Yet, behind the glitz and glamour, the city is also taking significant steps to combat climate change and set new standards in urban environmentalism. One of the most remarkable initiatives driving this change is Local Law 97. In this blog post, we will explore how Local Law 97 is revolutionizing urban environmentalism and setting a new standard for cities around the world.

The Birth of Local Law 97

Local Law 97, also known as the Climate Mobilization Act, was passed in 2019 as part of New York City's ambitious efforts to address climate change. This groundbreaking legislation targets a major contributor to carbon emissions: buildings. As buildings account for a significant portion of the city's greenhouse gas emissions, Local Law 97 is a critical tool in achieving the city's emissions reduction goals.

Key Provisions of Local Law 97

Local Law 97 introduces several key provisions that are reshaping the city's environmental landscape:

1. Emissions Caps: The law sets emissions caps for large buildings (over 25,000 square feet) based on their occupancy and type. These caps become increasingly stringent over time, driving down carbon emissions.

2. Carbon Trading: Building owners are encouraged to achieve emissions reductions or purchase carbon credits from more energy-efficient buildings to offset any excess emissions. This mechanism promotes cooperation and innovation in emissions reduction.

3. Incentives for Sustainability: The law offers financial incentives, including tax credits and low-interest loans, to motivate building owners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades and green technologies.

Setting a New Standard

1. Bold Emissions Reduction: Local Law 97's emphasis on emissions caps and carbon trading is a bold and practical approach to reducing carbon emissions. By targeting buildings, it tackles a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in a city as vast and densely populated as New York.

2. Economic Growth: The law fosters economic growth by creating job opportunities in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable construction. It also encourages private sector investments in green technologies and innovation.

3. Climate Resilience: In an era of rising sea levels and increased climate-related risks, Local Law 97 promotes climate resilience by incentivizing building owners to make their properties more adaptable and robust.

4. Global Leadership: New York City's commitment to environmentalism through Local Law 97 sets a global precedent. It shows that even megacities can lead the way in addressing climate change and promoting sustainability.


Local Law 97, as a core component of the Climate Mobilization Act, is redefining the standard for urban environmentalism. It demonstrates that cities can take bold, practical steps to combat climate change while simultaneously fostering economic growth and increasing climate resilience. As New York City continues to implement this groundbreaking legislation, it serves as an inspiration to urban centers worldwide, proving that sustainability is not only desirable but also achievable on a grand scale. Local Law 97 is setting a new standard for a greener, more sustainable urban future.

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