New York City, NY

NYC Bans Using Natural Gas in New Buildings

Genius Turner

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City officials take another leap forward in their hopes to one day supply 100 percent clean power to NYC.(Aurelien Guichard/Flickr)

By phasing out gas in new buildings, NYC hits a milestone in the fight to cleanse the city of climate pollution.

New York City — "Come gather 'round people wherever you roam," Bob Dylan once sang. ". . . For the times they are a-changin'."

The latest change, it appears, qualifies as a big one. On Wednesday, City Council voted to ban the use of natural gas in all new buildings. The hope is to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy.

According to the new plan, new buildings in the nation's largest city will have to convert to electricity for heat and cooking.

"The bill to ban the use of gas in new buildings will (help) us to transition to a greener future and (reach) carbon neutrality by the year 2050," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. "We are in a climate crisis and must take all necessary steps to fight climate change and protect our city."

"Is this the beginning of the end of gas stoves and dirty heat in buildings?" Rebecca Leber asks.

Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel went so far as to have called the ban a “breakthrough moment.” Perhaps Ampry-Samuel, like many, senses mandating such a ban in the nation's largest city spells the beginning of the end for gas-powered appliances.

Last year, U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell to their lowest since 1983.

Con Edison, which supplies power and gas in New York City, also senses the times they are a-changin'. "The establishment of a clear-cut path toward electrification of most new buildings is a sensible and necessary step on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050," Con Edison said.

In short, so far as the use of natural gas in buildings goes, perhaps Dylan put it best:

For the times they are a-changin'.

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