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Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson Announce Appointees to Climate Advisory Board Ahead of First Meeting

December 19, 2019

The Climate Advisory Board was enacted by Local Law 97, one of the most ambitious plans for reducing emissions in New York City.

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson announced today the appointment of fifteen individuals to the New York City Climate Advisory Board ahead of the board’s first meeting today.

Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson are committed to making NYC a global leader in the fight against climate change – and the Department of Buildings is taking a lead role in this effort. Buildings currently account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC, and the Mayor has pledged that the city will be carbon neutral by 2050.

Local Law 97 is one of the most ambitious plans for reducing emissions in New York City, enacting the Climate Advisory Board to provide advice and recommendations in order to optimize implementation and realize reductions in emissions from buildings. Local Law 97 was included in the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), passed by the City Council in April 2019, and part of the Mayor’s New York City Green New Deal.

This landmark package of new and aggressive mandates reflects the urgent nature of the issue they aim to address. Other provisions of the CMA aimed at reducing emissions from buildings include establishing an Office of Sustainability within the Department, requiring most new building projects to have solar panels or a green roof covering 100% of unoccupied roof space, and requiring all buildings over 25,000 square feet to post energy efficiency grade signs by mid-2020.

“With New York City’s Green New Deal, we are leading in the fight against global warming. These appointees to the Climate Advisory Board will ensure we are realizing our goal of reducing building emissions and making New York City carbon neutral by 2050” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Progressive cities like ours must lead the way on climate change, and that’s exactly what this Council did with Local Law 97. The Council is proud of its appointees to the Climate Advisory Board and looks forward to working with them and with the administration’s appointees to continue the fight against climate change” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“We are proud to take a leading role in executing the Green New Deal” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “We look forward to working with a broad range of stakeholders to help establish best practices to tackle the largest source of our city’s emissions, our buildings. We owe it to future generations to meet the challenge of global warming head-on.”

“Leveraging the creativity, brainpower, and diverse skill sets of leading stakeholders is essential to solving the climate crisis,” said Mark Chambers, Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Appointing the climate advisory board to help implement this critical work is a clear signal to the market that New York City’s climate action will continue to match our ambition.”

“Local Law 97 will be the largest carbon emissions reduction ever mandated by any city, anywhere, because New York City knows the time to meaningfully act on climate change was yesterday,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and Prime Bill Sponsor. “The Council was proud to make this the centerpiece of the Climate Mobilization Act. These men and women will be tasked with guiding our City to a brighter, greener, safer future and I look forward to working with them to achieve these goals.”

The Local Law 97 Advisory Board is chaired by DOB’s Chief Sustainability Officer, and comprised of 16 appointees, with eight appointments made by Mayor de Blasio, and eight appointments made by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The Board members are architects, engineers, property owners, representatives from the business sector and public utilities, environmental justice advocates, and tenant advocates. In addition to providing guidance, the Advisory Board is also required to prepare and submit periodic reports on the results of implementation once the law is fully in effect.

The appointees are:

Jill Lerner

Jill Lerner is Managing Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, where she leads award-winning projects in both the public and private sectors in New York City, across the United States and around the world. With a background of over 40 years of practice, Jill focuses, in particular, on complex infrastructure and institutional work, for which she is responsible for all aspects of project management and design, and serves the primary client contact during all phases, from initial programming, planning, and conceptual design through construction and project close-out.

Fiona Cousins

Fiona Cousins is an Arup Fellow and a member of Arup’s Americas Region Board. She helps lead the sustainability, building engineering and data strategies teams in Arup’s New York office, and directs technical and research investments for the Americas Region. She is a mechanical engineer by profession and has spent much of her career engaged in HVAC design, with an area of specialization in thermal comfort and energy efficiency. She has extensive project experience, including the design of museums, archives, trading floors, laboratories, libraries and performing art centers.

Tony Malkin

Anthony E. Malkin is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. He joined its predecessor entities in 1989. Mr. Malkin has been a leader in existing building energy efficiency retrofits through coordinating the team of Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls, JLL, and Rocky Mountain Institute in a groundbreaking project at the Empire State Building. Mr. Malkin led the development of standards for energy efficient office tenant installations which is now known as the Tenant Energy Optimization Program at the Urban Land Institute.

Kyle Kimball

Kyle Kimball is vice president of Government, Regional & Community Affairs for Consolidated Edison of New York. He directs the company’s government and community relations activities in New York City, Albany, and Washington, D.C. He manages the company’s relationships with policy makers at all levels of government, guides political and policy issues, and oversees lobbying efforts. Mr. Kimball joined Con Edison in June 2015.

Peggy Shepard

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all.

Angela Pinsky

Angela Pinsky currently serves as Executive Director of ABNY. Angela is dedicated to promotion of New York City and civic dialogue through the expansion and evolution of ABNY's membership, as well as ABNY's signature power breakfasts. Prior to joining ABNY, Angela served as Senior Vice President for Management Services and Government Affairs at the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) where she was responsible for REBNY’s commercial and residential Management Divisions and the lead on building code, sustainability and energy, and federal issues that impact New York City real estate.

Donna Chiu

Donna Chiu is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Ms. Chiu recently returned to MFJ where she started her legal career as a housing attorney. Prior to returning to MFJ, she was the Director of Housing and Community Services at Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), a non-profit, community-based organization. At AAFE, Ms. Chiu led a team comprised of attorney, organizer and housing advocate to provide legal representation, organize and empower non-English speaking immigrants in Queens and Chinatown to stand up to their predatory equity landlords and fight back against tenant harassment. 

Scott Frank

Scott Frank serves as a Managing Partner at Jaros, Baum & Bolles. Since joining the firm in 1987, Mr. Frank has led the firm’s team of experienced professionals in the areas of HVAC design. Mr. Frank also leads the Sustainable Design practice area at JB&B, including conducting rigorous feasibility studies to maximize energy conservation in buildings. He has also been actively involved with supporting the Mayor’s One City Built to Last plan for reducing city-wide carbon emissions by 80% before the year 2050. Specifically, Mr. Frank served on the Mayor’s Task Force in 2017 focused on developing a framework for managing carbon emissions for the city’s more than 1 million buildings, including developing specific recommendations for incremental policy changes as well as technical recommendations for retrofitting existing buildings to improve energy performance.

Donna De Costanzo

Donna De Costanzo advocates for the implementation of policies that increase energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment as well as promote sustainable communities and smart growth, with a primary focus on New York State and New York City. Prior to NRDC, De Costanzo was counsel to the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, where she advised the speaker and council members on environmental policy and crafted legislation on various issues, including sustainability planning, climate change, clean energy, air and water quality, endangered species, and green procurement.

David Pollock

David Pollock is the associate executive director and director, public policy and Jewish security of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC), the central coordinating and resource body for over 60 major Jewish organizations in the metropolitan New York area. He has authored multiple books and is a Research Investigator at John Jay College for Criminal Justice.

Pete Sikora

Pete Sikora is the Climate and Inequality Campaigns Director for New York Communities for Change, where he creates and implements policy and corporate campaigns against climate change and inequality, including leading a campaign to win fossil fuel divestment commitment by New York City.

Howard Styles

As the Training Director for Local 94, Howard implements, promotes and oversees various courses for the training program. Howard is constantly reshaping the program to meet the needs of the membership and their employers. Howard is a member of the I.U.O.E. training advisory committee. Howard is currently on BOMA’s preparedness and sustainability committees. He is a member of ASHRAE, the USGBC and the ICC and serves on Murphy Institute’s (CUNY) Labor Advisory Committee. Howard has also volunteered with organizations such as DOB and CWE and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

Candis Tolliver

Candis Tolliver is the Political Director for Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, focused on developing and overseeing the union’s multi-state political programs. She has previously worked as the Assistant Advocacy Director for Organizing for the New York Civil Liberties Union and as the Public Affairs Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.

Stas Zakrzewski

As a design partner, Mr. Zakrzewski is involved in projects from schematic design through construction administration and is responsible for determining with his clients the programmatic, budgetary and aesthetic goals of each project. He is responsible for hiring and coordinating the required consultants, performing as a project liaison that integrates their knowledge into the design process. He is responsible for the design team allocated to his projects and manages them through both technical and design tasks with the end goal being a cohesive construction set. Mr. Zakrzewski is involved through the bidding and negotiation of each of his projects, procuring contractor’s bids, review and analysis of all bids and final selection of the contractor.

Michael Yee

Michael Yee is the Associate Director for the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry’s Education and Cultural Trust Fund. He is also President of JIB Catering and a member of the JIB Green Committee. Yee acts as the Treasurer for Local Union No. 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.


“Mobilizing the expertise of stakeholders serves as an indispensable part of confronting the climate crisis we face. The New York City Climate Advisory Board does just that. I am proud of our NYC communities and colleagues in government for stepping up to this challenge, pursuing goals and innovation that will make a difference, and serving as an example of how we can tackle this momentous crisis” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee.

“We are committed to sustainability and helping New York City address the threat of climate change. The Climate Advisory Board will play an important role in ensuring that Local Law 97 is implemented in a way that achieves our shared climate goals. We thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and each of the Advisory Board members for their attention to this critical issue” said James Whelan, President, The Real Estate Board of New York.

“Urban Green applauds the appointment of the Advisory Board to ensure Local Law 97 is implemented effectively and guided by diverse stakeholder perspectives. We look forward to supporting the board and the dedicated team at the Department of Buildings to deliver transformational climate progress for NYC” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council.

“As a long-practicing engineer in this City, I look forward to working with my fellow board members and the NYC Department of Buildings to make the implementation of Local Law 97 as smooth and effective as possible” said Scott Frank.

“It is a privilege to bring our experience, expertise, and network to assist the Commissioner and the City of New York in the informed implementation of this historic legislation” said Tony Malkin.

“Our organization is proud to join New York City in its drive to cut our carbon footprint while rendering it feasible for not-for-profit owners to achieve affordable energy savings in the process” said David Pollock.

“As a member of the Advisory Board, I look forward to ensuring that the voices of residential tenants are heard and their rights protected as the city implements Local Law 97 to reduce carbon emissions from buildings” said Donna Chiu.

“I am honored to serve on a committee tasked with tremendous responsibilities in framing New York City buildings’ contribution to fighting climate change. Our future relies on our ability to get this right, and I look forward to working with the City and my fellow board members on this important issue” said Angela Pinsky.

“Local Law 97 sets a strong, new context for reducing NYC’s carbon emissions, in particular through work in existing buildings, which have long proved difficult to modify and upgrade to reach their best possible performance. It reinforces New York’s leadership position on climate mobilization across the nation and it will be important to set rules that create the best possible results through clarity of objectives and coherence with other regulations and I am looking forward to engaging in that work” said Fiona Cousins.

"I am looking forward to discussing manageable, cost effective solutions for all tenants, owners and professionals to help reduce emissions of our NYC buildings" said Stas Zakrzewski.

“As a member of the Climate Mobilization Act’s Advisory Board, I look forward to providing the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability with advice and recommendations on how to achieve the city’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a just and equitable way,” said Peggy Shepard “Low-income communities and communities of color, like those we represent in Northern Manhattan, have shouldered a disproportion burden in terms of air pollution and other environmental hazards generated by the fossil fuel economy, so we need to ensure that the policies and practices put in place for reducing emissions is done fairly, benefitting all New Yorkers while safeguarding affordable housing.”

“The City’s energy system is undergoing rapid transformation and our City’s buildings are a part of the solution in decarbonizing the energy grid.” said Kyle Kimball “We look forward to working with the Climate Advisory Board to help create a sense of urgency around our carbon reduction goals, while also ensuring energy users have access to clean, reliable and affordable energy for their heating and cooking needs.”

“The architectural community, and KPF in particular, has long been a champion of more sustainable cities. Local Law 97 will accelerate our own city’s ability to achieve carbon neutrality, and will greatly impact how new buildings are designed and how existing buildings are retrofitted.  I am honored to serve on the Advisory Board for this critical issue, contributing the perspective of a design practice that understands and appreciates how the built environment impacts our wellbeing and our planet.” said Jill Lerner.

"New York City’s building decarbonization law will play a pivotal role in reducing emissions from buildings - the city's biggest source of emissions that cause climate change – and in transitioning off fossil fuels. I am honored to be part of the Climate Mobilization Act Advisory Board and look forward to working with this esteemed group to advance the implementation of this bold climate legislation that will lay the groundwork for similarly ambitious actions that other cities can take," said Donna De Costanzo.

"We are at a turning point in our climate crisis.Taking action to reduce emissions from buildings is a critical piece of New York's path to a more sustainable future and will take all of us working together in a thoughtful way.  32BJ is proud to have programs in place that train building workers to be part of the solution and we look forward to working with the rest of the NYC Climate Advisory Board to enhance our collective impact and success," said Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU.

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