Electric cars

A battle to ban gas and oil connections in new buildings

A battle to ban gas and oil connections in new buildings

Hello. It’s Tuesday. Today we’ll explore a brewing battle over Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to ban oil and gas hookups in new buildings. And we’ll find out why New York City’s shift to electric vehicles instead of gas-powered ones is getting off to a slow start.

It might surprise you – given how much daily angst New Yorkers, whether they drive or not, devote to traffic and parking – that cars and trucks aren’t the biggest contributor to the State to climate change and its risks threatening civilization. The buildings are.

Yes, the threat comes from inside the house. Or to be exact, of our homes, apartments, offices, factories and stores. Statewide, 32% of the global warming gases in the atmosphere come from heating and cooking in buildings.

How to reduce these emissions is shaping up to be one of the toughest political battles of the year, starting with Governor Hochul’s proposed state budget. One of his most aggressive and contested climate planks is a plan to ban gas and oil connections in new buildings from 2027.

The move would make New York the first U.S. state, and the largest jurisdiction in the world, to stop adding fossil fuel stoves and heaters and require new buildings to use only electricity. which, under state law, is deemed to come entirely from broadcasts. free sources by 2040. Such a step by real estate and financial capital could be crucial for the country’s energy future, experts say, as other states debate similar measures. (New York, where buildings produce 40% of emissions, adopted a similar measure last year.)

So the stakes are high, with a fierce lobbying and public relations battle between climate advocacy groups, which support the proposal, and the oil and gas industries, which oppose it. There have been unexpected political twists – chief among them being that, according to lawmakers, the current stumbling block to Ms. Hochul’s proposal is the State Assembly, the same body whose takeover by the Democrats in 2019 ushered in the state’s ambitious Climate Act.

For this reason, some of the proponents of the gasoline ban are frustrated with the leadership of the Assembly. Speaker Carl Heastie was tight-lipped on the measure, but generally said the budget debate should be reserved for budget decisions, not other political matters.

Climate groups like Food and Water Watch say his stance doesn’t match his district in the Bronx, an area that has long been hard-hit by environmental inequality. The borough has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation and some of the dirtiest buildings in the state.

In another budget debate, the House and Senate are pushing the governor to spend billions more on climate change, including at least $1 billion a year just to help low-income households and way to renovate their homes to avoid burning fossil fuels. . Without this level of spending, they say, the state will not be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This goal was enshrined in climate law a while ago. more than two years.

If the gas hook-up measure is not part of the budget, the debate will continue on a new version in a separate bill. The points of contention are myriad: Opponents argue that the state risks outpacing its ability to generate enough renewable electricity to heat its homes and that electric heat pumps will cost consumers more. Proponents say pumps are more cost effective in the long run.


Prepare for a chance of showers in the late afternoon, with temperatures steady in the mid-50s. Showers continue into the evening.

alternative parking

Valid until April 14 (Maundy Thursday).

Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse sparked the biggest upset labor battle in recent memory last weekend. They over-organized the company’s multi-million dollar consulting team – by a local effort led by a recently laid off workernot national union staff — and managed to win a vote to create the mail order giant’s first syndicate in the USA.

It’s a huge flex, so we wonder: how does this affect the mood of Amazon’s public face? By this we mean, of course, the people who deliver more than 2.4 million packages a day in New York. (Per day. That’s more than one pack for every four residents. People: what is it, and do we really need all of this? But we digress.)

Do people who wear Amazon freebies (or, say, shaped-specific insoles like the ones I ordered recently) feel empowered, indifferent, or inspired — or jealous? The new union doesn’t cover them — they work for what Amazon calls “delivery service partners” or as independent contractors. (The vote also does not affect the workers of more than 50 other warehouses in the city and suburbs.)

But could the pilots be next? The Teamsters hope so.

In the wake of last week’s victory, this union new national presidentSean O’Brien, told my colleague Noam Scheiber that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to organize Amazon – perhaps starting in “major metropolitan cities with strong working relationships and strong political support”.

“Amazon is so deviant and so disrespectful to its employees, there’s a high turnover rate there,” he said. “But I think we can put just as much pressure on the company, politically, in the community and as a transport union. I think we are going to have a huge success.

Amazon, in a statement, reiterated its views on unionization: “We believe that having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees.”

Speaking of ambitious but contested climate goals, New York City has pledged to electrify its entire city fleet — nearly 30,000 vehicles — by 2035.

At the moment, as my colleagues Winnie Hu, Nadav Gavrielov and Jack Ewing report, of the 5,900 buses in the city, only 15 are electric. Less than 1% of the 1.9 million personal vehicles registered in the city are fully electric. The police only have one electric patrol car, and the Sanitation Department only has one electric garbage truck.

The obstacles, in many ways, reflect the same chicken-and-egg problem the state has with renewable energy.

The mantra for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is: Electrify everything. But just as the state still has a long way to go before it can generate enough renewable electricity to power, well, everything, the city also grapples with technology and resource limitations.

There are just 86 public charging stations, a drop in the bucket in a city where many residents have the money and the inclination to buy electric cars, but very few have a garage or a driveway that would allow them to hook up a car.

Another kind of problem: there is no electric fire truck produced that meets city standards.

Many of these problems await solutions that require two things in short supply. The first is federal government money to build infrastructure, train workers and educate consumers. The second is targeted bandwidth, in a chaotic time, for the public to decide what they want when it comes to climate action and for state, city, and local to work together on that.


Dear Diary:

I was working as a fourth grade teacher at a private school on the East Side. As a year-end gift, the parents asked their daughters to engrave their names in a silver picture frame, which was given to me wrapped in yards of tissue paper inside a Tiffany box.

I put a graceful look on my face as I unwrapped it. I lifted the frame and smiled at each of the 15 girls who had “signed” it.

After school, I snuck into a pawn shop on Lexington Avenue. The man at the counter looked approvingly at the Tiffany box.