May 6, 2023
With carbon emissions on the rise, New York City has become the first in the United States to ban natural gas in most new buildings. The U.S. Energy Administration “estimates that in 2021, U.S. CO2 emissions from natural gas combustion for energy accounted for about 34% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions.”
Natural gas is mainly methane, which is a strong greenhouse gas. It is distributed into the atmosphere from oil and natural gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines, and processing plants.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic lawmakers approved a new $229 billion state budget containing the provision Tuesday night. The law bans gas-powered stoves, furnaces, and propane heating, and encourages climate-friendly appliances like heat pumps and induction stoves in residential buildings.
However. These changes have not yet gone into effect. All electric heating and electric stoves are required in buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026 and taller buildings by 2029. This new law only applies to some new buildings.
The lawmakers have extended the exception to include industrial buildings like stores, laundromats, hospitals, and restaurants. It is unclear why these buildings have been excluded from the requirement, but based on research, cost appears to be a factor.
Concerns About the New Law
Those who are against the new law fear it will increase utility bills and housing costs. There is also the concern that a ban is being enacted before the state has the infrastructure to it.
For instance, gas hookups were banned in cities like San Francisco and Seattle before states could create measures where electrification was supported through building codes. A valuable resource was taken away, leaving residents with no alternative.
New York wants to make its dream of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 a reality, so the city will need to make sure there is infrastructure in place to support it. Considering that 3 in 5 households rely on natural gas for heating, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and only 1 in 7 heat their homes using electricity, it is clear the state has a lot of work to do.
Edited By: Yasmin
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