Press Releases

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2023

Casey Berkovitz, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

Ahead of Earth Day: Details on Mayor Adams' City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality to be Released and Discussed with Public March 20 and 28

Easy-to-Access evening sessions will present in-the-works proposal as the City continues to seek public input and answer questions on this plan to reduce NYC's carbon emissions
Join these public sessions online or by phone via

NYC cityscape with solar panels

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick today announced two public information sessions on Mayor Eric Adams' City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality initiative to create a greener New York City.

Set for March 20 and 28 at 7 pm, the sessions will share the City’s proposal to modernize zoning to support climate goals of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

“With the world facing a climate emergency, New Yorkers can make a difference by updating our zoning code to address 21st century challenges and help green our buildings, our streets, and our city. Please join us at these upcoming sessions and help us achieve a more sustainable future,” said Dan Garodnick, Department of City Planning Director and Chair of the City Planning Commission.

“As healthcare experts continue to link the Bronx’s high asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease rates to carbon emissions, I am confident that the Mayor’s push to address this through City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality is a necessary step to addressing this issue,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “With two sessions that are open to the public, we anticipate spirited and energized exchanges that will help guide our City in effectively reducing carbon emissions by 2050 while complying with the Paris Climate Agreement's 2016 goal to reduce global warming. I want to thank Mayor Eric Adams and Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick for prioritizing clean air in communities that have historically been overlooked."

“Queens knows all too well the destructive impacts of climate change and our society’s reliance on fossil fuels. But it’s not too late to turn our shared pain into progress and realize our potential to be a clean energy leader,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I encourage all our neighbors to participate in these public information sessions and make your opinions known. Together, we can ensure the city we pass down to future generations is not only a livable one, but a thriving and resilient one as well.”

"As a global leader in business and culture, New York City has the power to inspire change and pave the way for a cleaner, brighter future. By taking bold and decisive action to reduce our carbon footprint, we can protect our communities, preserve our natural resources, and build a more sustainable world for generations to come,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency & Waterfronts. “I applaud Mayor Adams and the New York City Department of City Planning for hosting these important public info sessions on City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality and urge all New Yorkers to attend.”

“The objective of lowering carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 in our city cannot be accomplished without the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality project and I applaud their exceptional work. Carbon neutrality is not just a goal, it's a necessity for the survival of our city, nation, and world. This initiative will help us slow and reverse centuries of environmental damage. The decisions we make today will be the inheritance of future generations, and we owe it to them to care for our Earth,” said Council Member Farah Louis.

City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality – which is set to enter public review on April 24, the Monday after Earth Day – is designed to help New York City to meet its ambitious goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and do its part to meet the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016’s goal of limiting global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius. While the City has some of the strongest laws in the nation to reduce emissions and a stringent energy code to help us go green, outdated zoning rules remain an obstacle to energy-efficient technologies that will help to achieve these goals.

City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality

Among the changes City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality is proposing to create a greener New York are: 

  • Plan for a renewable energy grid. This initiative would remove existing zoning obstacles that severely limit how much space on a rooftop can be covered by solar panels, unnecessarily hampering clean solar energy. It would also make it easier to install the energy storage infrastructure needed for solar energy and a greener future. 
  • Create cleaner, more efficient buildings. Since wall thickness counts against a building’s allowable floor area ratio, many developments find it impossible to retrofit their façades with high-performing walls, typically thicker than existing ones. City of Yes will add flexibility so these modifications can be made to a building without running into zoning violations.
  • Support electric vehicles and micro-mobility. Since electric vehicles have only started growing in popularity recently, there are very limited areas that allow off-street charging locations. This proposal would change zoning rules to expand off-street electric vehicle charging to most residential and commercial districts, so they can be easily included in a building’s garage. 

City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality received backing from the New York League of Conservation Voters (page 4), a sign of the importance of modernizing zoning regulations in support of the city’s climate goals.

Once the formal public review process begins in April, this citywide text amendment would be reviewed by all 59 Community Boards and all five Borough Boards and Borough Presidents for their recommendations. Next, City of Yes would go before the City Planning Commission for a public hearing and a vote. If the Commission votes in favor of the application, it would then head to the City Council for a public hearing and vote.

“The Department of City Planning’s proposed City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality zoning amendment is critical to removing impediments to installing energy-efficient technologies that are essential to cutting emissions and meeting New York City’s and the State's climate goals. We encourage all New Yorkers to attend DCP’s upcoming information sessions so they get up to speed on this important initiative as it makes its way through the public review process this year,” said Alia Soomro, Deputy Director of New York City Policy for the New York League of Conservation Voters.

“City Planning and the Mayor should be applauded for these critical zoning reforms, which are prerequisites for retrofitting our affordable housing stock and achieving our climate goals,” said Jolie Milstein, President and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “A year ago, we publicly called for a zoning text amendment to allow elevated solar trellises across 100% of roof area to maximize renewable energy generation, and we are very pleased that City Planning is advancing this proposal into public review.”

“Modernizing NYC’s zoning rules is a crucial step to making our buildings clean, efficient and resilient,” said Chris Halfnight, Senior Director of Research and Policy at Urban Green Council. “Urban Green has long advanced green zoning and we applaud Director Garodnick and the dedicated team at City Planning for moving this crucial effort forward with opportunities for input from all New Yorkers.”

Carbon Neutrality is the first of three expansive mayoral “City of Yes” initiatives for a more inclusive and equitable city. The other two proposals are:

  • City of Yes for Economic Opportunity – focused on providing our small businesses with the flexibility needed for them to change and grow, including as we continue to recover from COVID-19. The proposals would remove unnecessary and outdated limitations on small businesses.
  • City of Yes for Housing Opportunity – an inclusive, citywide approach to our City’s housing crisis that aims to expand and diversify the housing supply, and ensure that every neighborhood does its part to help meet housing needs and provide equitable access to housing for all New Yorkers.

These other two proposals are expected to advance into public review over the course of the next 12 months. 

For any questions on City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, please email

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.