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Council Passes NYC's Green New Deal, Mandating Updates On Buildings

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Big buildings could soon face big fines for not being green enough.

It's part of an aggressive crackdown to tackle climate change in New York City, reports CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

Today the city council passed sets a precedent for municipalities worldwide.

From the Empire State Building to residential high rises, structures more than 25,000 square feet could be fined millions of dollars a year. City legislation passed today requires them to reduce emissions 40 percent by the year 2030, and 80 percent by the year 2050.

"It'll be the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road," said Queens councilman Costa Constantinides.

During today's voting session, there was a standing ovation for Constantinides, who is the prime sponsor of the climate mobilization act.

Akin to congress's Green New Deal, it is heralded for creating new jobs and saving energy. Council supporters say large buildings account for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

"They're going to pay less in energy bills moving forward," said council speaker Corey Johnson.

Corey Johnson, City Council Debate The NYC Green Bill

The legislation also makes way for more wind turbines and ensures power plants will have more renewable energy sources.

The "Green New Deal" name was borrowed from the national proposals authored by Bronx and Queens congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year. That bill was killed by a 57-0 vote.

MORE: New Laws In 2019 Designed To Help New Yorkers Keep More Money, Spend Time With Family, Aid Environment

The mayor's office estimates the cost to buildings will be upwards of $4 billion. They may have to make green upgrades like new windows, new insulation or new roofing.

"All new development will have solar or wind or green on their roofs," said Brooklyn councilman Brad Lander.

The New York chapter for the American Institute of Architects supports it.

"This actually really is a call to action for the architecture community," said Benjamin Prosky, executive director, AIA NY. "It has a lot to do with retrofits, meaning old buildings."

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