Below are three short summaries of recent climate-related news from Climate Nexus.
NYC Lawmakers Vote To Electrify New Buildings
New York City is poised to electrify nearly all new buildings in the coming years after city legislators voted Wednesday for the measure designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution. The Big Apple is the latest in a growing drumbeat of dozens of municipalities across the country moving to cut their climate pollution by electrifying new buildings. The legislation, which Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign, requires electricity-powered heat and hot water in — with a few exceptions — all new buildings under seven stories by 2024 and all other buildings in 2027.
As the country’s largest city electrifies its buildings, which account for almost 70% of its climate pollution, increased electricity demand will boost momentum for decarbonizing the state’s electricity sector. The bill will save ratepayers money that would otherwise be spent on new gas hookups, a common utility tactic to subsidize expanding gas infrastructure, as well as reduce air pollution in general, and especially indoor air pollution caused by gas stoves. “We’re really setting the pace here,” New York City sustainability chief Ben Furnas told E&E news. “If it can be done in New York City, it can really be done anywhere.”
Sources E&E News, Earther, New York Times $, NY1, The City, Gothamist, AP, NPR, The Verge, Grist, Washington Examiner, FOX5, CBS2, CNBC, The Hill, Reuters; Gas hookup subsidization: Earther)
Oil and Gas Reserves Threatened By Extreme Weather
About 40% of the world’s recoverable oil and gas reserves could be vulnerable to wild weather fueled by climate change, UK consultancy Verisk Maplecroft warned Thursday. Major reserves in Saudi Arabia (extreme heat, water shortages and dust), Iraq and Nigeria (droughts and flooding) among the most vulnerable, but refining capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast is also at risk of being knocked offline by storms like Hurricane Ida. “These types of events are going to become more frequent and more extreme, creating even greater shocks within the industry,” Rory Clisby, environmental analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told Reuters.
Sources Maryland death: Washington Post $, AP; Flash flooding and evacuations: Washington Post $, CBS, Yale Climate Connections, AP; New Orleans impacts: NOLA 1, NOLA 2, NOLA 3
Air pollution still disproportionately harms communities of color, study says (Washington Post $, Health Day News), study: fossil fuel burning linked to over 1M deaths per year (E&E News), how much air pollution do you live with? It may depend on your skin color (The Guardian).
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