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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Announces New York City's Green New Deal

April 22, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Saheedah, that's amazing – 15 years old and a leader already. Let's give her a round of applause.


And Saheedah, your urgency, we can feel it, we can hear it. Your urgency is what we all need because you are literally saying it's a matter of life and death for you. And we have to understand this battle to save our Earth will be won or lost in our lifetime. There's no second chance and we are blessed to have so many leaders here, including the youngest leaders, who feel this, who understand this, who are going to fight with everything they have for our survival. I want to ask you some questions everyone. Do our children deserve a planet they can live on?

Audience: Yes.

Mayor: Do we deserve a future without fear?

Audience: Yes.

Mayor: Do our leaders need to fight global warming like our lives depend on it?

Audience: Yes.

Mayor: We are here in New York City to show how it needs to be done, to show how it must be done. Today we announced the New York City Green New Deal.


On this Earth Day we make very clear we are not waiting on Washington DC because that would be to our peril. We are not waiting on leaders who deny global warming is even happening. Because we have seen those fires, those floods, those droughts. We've seen what Hurricane Sandy did to this city. We are not in denial here. We have to go farther than we ever thought we could go and we have to do it faster than we ever thought we could. That's what today is about. It is an audacious plan. It is a bold plan. It is a difficult plan, it is a necessary plan. We knew that a New York City Green New Deal would engender a lot of opposition. We've already seen the opposition from the big oil companies and we certainly felt the opposition at the real estate lobby in these last months but to the credit of everyone here we said we don't care how much opposition there is, we will take them on and we will beat them and we will have this Green New Deal because we must have it now.


We are today, announcing the New York City Green New Deal as part of our OneNYC 2050 vision. An extraordinary comprehensive vision for the future of this city, and I happen to have one here. The OneNYC 2050 plan, this is just the introductory book, there's nine books total. And it talks about what this city needs to look like in 2050. But it begins with the assumption that we have to make sure that we are still here in 2050. In one of the great coastal cities of the world, there's a lot we have to do to make sure that life in 2050 will be livable. And so the plan lays out what it is going to take. Now a lot of people in our administration worked very, very hard and it's a rare thing to have for a government or any organization, a road map that takes you decades ahead, but this extraordinary group of public servants gathered around me, they did that hard work over the last months and put together something extraordinary.

So I just want everyone to know that the folks who work on our behalf, they are not only working for you today, they are looking far into the future and they have actually given us a road map to get there. Let's thank all the members of the administration who are a part of this effort.


I want to thank the elected officials who have stood strong, who have taken on the opposition. You are going to hear from Costa in a minute but I also want to thank Councilmember Donovan Richards and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez for their great leadership.


And to all the advocates and organizations who believed in the New York City Green New Deal, who helped us to create the idea, who fought for it, and are going to make it come alive – I want to thank each and every one of you. I want to thank the Alliance For Greater New York, ALIGN, thank you.


The Nature Conservancy, thank you.


The Building and Constructions Trade Council, thank you.


Green City Force, thank you.


And most definitely Global Kids, thank you.


So you are not going to find climate deniers in New York City because we suffered through Sandy, we lost dozens of lives, billions of dollars in damage, neighborhoods destroyed, we lived it. We know it. And we also believe the reports, the estimates that tell us we have only 12 years to get it right. Let's be clear we have until 2030 to start changing things fundamentally or our lives just won't be the same. So we are not just passing laws and rules and telling people they have to do things differently. This is a massive undertaking. The New York City Green New Deal is a $14 billion effort to change things while we still can, to make a difference while we still can – a $14 billion initiative to help ensure that we can live on this earth. And one of the highlights, and we worked so closely with the City Council over years to get to this day – one of the highlights is for the first time of the Earth, the first major city on the Earth to mandate that our buildings must stop emitting so many dangerous pollutants, that our buildings must be part of the solution and not part of the problem. For the first time on Earth, a major city says no more. It's now law that our buildings must do the right thing for the people of this city.


I want you to get a sense of the magnitude here, with the actions we took earlier in the administration, and now the introduction of the larger New York City Green New Deal – these efforts together will cut emissions in New York City by 30 percent by the year 2030.


These are now the toughest laws of any state or city in the nation and we've only just begun. Now why are we so focused on the building? Because it turns out my friends they are the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions, the number one cause is the buildings in this city. It's not the cars, it's the buildings. And we said when we went to the private sector in the beginning, we said we have skin in the game, the City government. We are going to lead by example. We put $3 billion into retrofitting all the city government buildings that need to be made clean and green, $3 billion. Now I gave the real estate industry fair warning, five years ago I spoke at the United Nations, and I said we are going to take matters into our hands. We are going to fix our own buildings, we are going to make them green. Join with us, come up with a vision of how you the private sector will do it as well. And we gave them every chance but when it was clear that they were not moving fast enough, we got together with the City Council and we say we will make this a mandate, we will make this a law. This is no longer a negotiation. This is no longer an option. This must be done. And that law was the subject to a lot of opposition.

And my colleagues in the City Council know, because they heard all the voices, all the folks telling them it couldn't be done, it shouldn't be done, all the folks say they would use their power against them. But to the credit of the City Council, they stood firm. And our administration knew we had no choice but to ignore those voices that would take us backwards and to put this mandate in place. And I want to be very clear – the landlords who play by the rules are not going to have a problem but any landlord who does not achieve these goals will be subject of fines of up to $1 million per year. In some cases, in the largest buildings, it could be over $1 million.

That's real money and it sends a real message that this has to happen. Now, we're going to take it another step because part of the problem here is that buildings got built that never should have been built to begin with if we were thinking about the needs of our Earth. Some of them you can see right behind us in the background. And so, we are going to introduce legislation to ban the glass and steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming. They have no place in our city or on our Earth anymore.

If a company wants to build a big skyscraper, they can use a lot of glass if they do all the other things needed to reduce the emissions. But putting up monuments to themselves that harmed our Earth and threatened our future, that will no longer be allowed in New York City.


One more crucial part of the New York City Green New Deal is that we, the City government – we are going to change the way we do things. The City government of New York City, in an average day, uses as much electricity as everybody in the state of Vermont. And within the next five years, we will convert all of our electricity that the City government uses to renewable sources. All of it will come from renewable energy.


That electricity will come down to us – it's zero-emission electricity coming to us from Canada, from Quebec, hydropower that is being produced right now. And we're not taking advantage of it. We're going to take the actions working with our partners to make sure that our City government doesn't need to get its electricity from fossil fuels. Those fossil fuels can be left in the ground where they belong.


Before I turn to my colleagues, and before I say a few words in Spanish, I just want to make clear – why are we in this predicament, why are young people wondering if they're going to even have a future? Because too many people are motivated by greed, too many companies were motivated by greed. We know who did this to us. Big Oil did this to us. We know who the culprit is. That is why the City of New York is suing five of the largest petroleum companies to get back, in damages, the money to fix what they did to this city. That is why we are divesting our pension funds of $5 billion that used to go to the fossil fuel industry but won't go to them anymore.


So, I really believe in the Green New Deal. I believe it's urgent and it's necessary and it's a wakeup call. And I believe in it so much that we are the first place to bring it to life. New York City is not just talking about it. New York City is making the Green New Deal come alive and that begins today. Congratulations to all.


A few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that I want to bring up one of the many, many people who put together the OneNYC plan – and he led the way as my Chief Climate Policy Advisor and the OneNYC Director, and put his heart and soul into bringing the NYC Green New Deal to life. Dan Zarrilli –


Director Daniel Zarrilli, OneNYC: Thank you so much, Mayor de Blasio. Thank you so much. I am so proud to be standing here today, proud of my city, proud to be able to proclaim New York City's Green New Deal. Thank you.

Special thanks to the entire City team – many of them are here – for all their hard work to get us to this day. A few people deserve a special shout out. I'm just going to run through a couple quick names – Dan Steinberg, Morgan Monaco, Lara Croushore – can I get a round of applause here – Doug Giuliano, Adam [inaudible]. Thank you for all your hard work over these months to get us to this point.

To our Advisory Board, led by Larisa Ortiz and Jeff Sachs – thank you as well. And to the thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers who spent their – put their time and their voice into helping get us to this point, thank you for all you do as well.

New York City's Green New Deal – it starts with a vision, a vision for a better world for our kids, one that our kids will inherit, one where we're no longer addicted to fossil fuels, where we have transitioned in a fair way to a green economy that works for everyone, and where our democracy includes everyone. And thankfully here in New York City, it's not just a vision, it's coming to life. We're actually doing it.

For five years this administration has been hard at work confronting our climate crisis. Now with these new actions from Mayor de Blasio we will go further and we will go faster. What this means – it means we're implementing new mandatory building retrofit requirements, giving building owners just five years to cut their pollution or face major fines. It means banning those all glass high-rise construction until it meets the absolute highest energy efficiency standards, securing enough clean electricity to power our entire City government on 100 percent renewables within five years with hydropower from Quebec. It also means converting every single vehicle in our City fleet to electric and renewable fuels, going carbon neutral for our entire fleet.


It means expanding our solar – which we have already increased seven-fold since 2013. It means cutting our beef purchases 50 percent.


Phasing out processed meat – a major source our emissions – implementing congestion pricing, speeding up buses, prioritizing streets for pedestrians. The list goes on – and moving to a mandatory citywide organics program across the entire city.


In total, this administration will have locked in nearly an additional 30 percent of emissions reduction by 2030 on our way to full carbon neutrality for the entire city by 2050. That's what the science demands of us, that's what the Paris Agreement demands of us, and that's what we need to do to avoid catastrophic changes to our world.

Here in New York City, we recognize that the climate crisis for what it is. It's an emergency. And also, what matters most is not words but action. With today's OneNYC release, we are demonstrating to the world what a Green New Deal looks like in action and in practice – taking on the fossil fuel industry, getting our emissions to net-zero, building greater resiliency citywide, and creating an inclusive economy to make sure all New Yorkers have a fair opportunity to thrive.

These are not easy things to do. They are necessary things to do and we're not backing away from it if we want to secure a livable future for the next generation. New York City's Green New Deal has already begun as the antidote for what ails us in this world and I'm proud to be a part of it. Thank you very much.


Mayor: You know I forgot to say – Happy Earth Day, everyone.

Audience: Happy Earth Day.

Mayor: Happy Earth Day. Happy Earth Day. Costa, Happy Earth Day.


One of the real heroes of the New York City Green New Deal – and I have to tell you, as Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, Costa Constantinides took a lot of pressure from a lot of places, most notably the real estate industry, and he didn't buckle. He was very strong as a leader. He was fair, he listened, but he had a North Star which was saving the planet and recognizing the absence of the federal government taking action. The biggest city in the country had a special responsibility to do something bold and he led the way as the lead sponsor of the legislation. So, it's a great pleasure, on this Earth Day, to introduce Council Member Costa Constantinides.



Mayor: I want everyone to appreciate that when we said it was time to divest from fossil fuels, to take $5 billion away from the fossil fuel industry, we needed our labor brothers and sisters to stand with us and one of the strongest voices leading the way for all the labor community was Henry Garrido. Thank you for helping us to achieve that goal Henry.


Okay, we're going to take topics – excuse me – we're going to take questions on the topic of the New York City Green New Deal and OneNYC and then we'll switch to other topics after. On today? Yes?

Question: Mr. Mayor, Crain's reported this morning that the building emissions law has numerous exemptions for everything from churches to single family homes, hospitals, NYCHA housing complexes, and that the weight of that will fall on market rate condos and co-ops. I mean why is it fair to saddle, you know, home owners in New York City's [inaudible] while accepting so many buildings if this is such an existential threat?

Mayor: So I respect Crain's but I don't think they got the picture right from what you're saying, I haven't read the article and Dan, Mark, Dom Williams, one of you will come up or multiple will come up to help me, but I'm going to start with the big picture. We explicitly put in place for these 50,000 buildings, so these are all the largest buildings in New York City, buildings at 25,000 square feet or more, so fist I want everyone to understand there are buildings that will be treated differently, but the ones that are treated to these particularly high standards are those biggest buildings. And we said we will help if they need help to get it done, we'll provide low interest loans, we'll make it easy for anyone who wants help, but we don't expect cost to be passed on because that help is available and my colleagues can go into greater detail.

On the question of the different categories, we did see a difference, for example, in what a hospital does than what a private sector building does, but we asked everyone to contribute, all in different ways. Some because of the nature of their work or their mission can contribute in a different way than a building that is part of a profit making enterprise. So we're being very clear, we are asking the private sector to step up, but we're doing it in a way that gives them time to make the adjustment. We're going to give them support along the way. By the way, when they make those retrofits, they save money, they get to keep that money. So I think it's very balanced, does anyone want to add on to any of the nuances? You want to add? Okay, Mark Chambers. Oh, I'll give you more height Mark Chambers.

Director Mark Chambers, Mayor's Office of Sustainability: I'll take the height.


Good afternoon. I just wanted to say that there are no exemptions. So just with the Mayor alluded to, buildings that are houses of worship, hospitals, affordable housing, those still have requirements under this law and their less stringent some of the other buildings, but there are no exemptions for large buildings. Buildings over 25,000 square feet are going to be a part of this and will contribute towards the energy and emissions reductions needed for this city.

Question: [Inaudible] NYCHA buildings, what kind of rules are they subject to?

Director Chambers: So, in this bill NYCHA is moving towards a 40 percent reduction by 2030 and I'll also add that the city buildings are also included in this bill and their target is more strenuous than the private sector, pushing towards a 50 percent reduction by 2030.


Mayor: Very good Mark. And one other point on that, whenever we do the RAD initiative with NYCHA where we are redoing buildings, we're going to be the energy efficiency measures and that's for right there, 60,000 plus apartments, so that's about a third of NYCHA on its face. So that implicitly will involve energy retrofitting. Rich?

Question: Mr. Mayor, do you feel as those you're ahead of the announced Democratic candidates in terms of the environment [inaudible] –

Mayor: What a trick question. Oh my God I'm so confused by that question.


Nicely played, Mr. Lamb. I'm not here to compare with other leaders, but I can compare with other cities, and states, and countries. We're the first major city on the earth to have these kind of building mandates and we are taking the very noble idea of the Green New Deal and make it come alive right here, right now. So New York City is doing something very special. New York City is way ahead of the curve right now, but let's keep it to that level as opposed to talking about individuals. Go ahead, Anna?

Question: Don't you think that as Mayor of New York City you should lead by example in terms of cutting back on your own personal emission and your own carbon footprint, and I guess how do you square that with driving to the gym –

Mayor: We've talked about this a lot of times. I'm not going to go over it again. Thank you.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: The glass and steel buildings? Yeah, I'll start and others join in. So this will involve changing the city's energy code and that is one of the things that governs the building of any building. So literally to get a building permit to build you have to be in conformance with the energy code. And we're going to make very clear that the kind of the glass and steel buildings of the past, and some bluntly were being built very recently, are just not going to be allowed anymore. It's literally going to be a much higher standard and the only way that kind of design would even be acceptable is if a whole host of other changes were made to compensate because those buildings were inherently very inefficient.

You can imagine why, there's glass everywhere, you know, everything that they do to keep them hot or cold just goes right out through the glass so they have to pump more and more energy to keep them at a certain level. So – an idea doesn't make sense anymore, we'll put strong new rules in place. I think what it's going to mean is a lot of building owners are not going to build those kind of buildings or if they choose to, they are going to have to do a lot to compensate with other energy saving measures. Want to talk to that? What are those – what kind of things could they do?

Director Chambers: Sure, so first I want to call out that it doesn't mean that buildings can't use glass anymore, okay. A perfect example is the American Copper Building right behind us, it's kind of shaped like the backwards K, you know, that building does use glass but it also uses other materials and it uses high performance glass to make sure that the building is actually work to the benefit of our emissions reductions.

To the question about what other measures buildings can do?  Buildings have control over their HVAC systems. They only have control over their operations, so a lot of the measures that impact building performance have a lot to do with making sure that you are using the building when you're occupying it, and not using it when you're not. So part of this is making sure that buildings are not just built efficient with the right equipment, but that their being operated very much in line with a low carbon footprint with that building.

Mayor: Okay, wait, someone who hasn't gone? Marcia?

Question: Mr. Mayor, some of you may say that some of these ideals – ideas are, you should pardon the term, recycled –

Mayor: Ah-ha, recycled.

Question: I wondered if you could consider some new ideas, like damming the East River to provide power, or hydro-kinetic power?

Mayor: I will open and my colleagues who are more learned on the topics than I will speak. I think these are not recycled ideas because they haven't been put into action, Marcia. I think there's are a lot of good ideas in the world but what really matters do you bring them to life? Do they actually work? Do they actually happen? We're talking about this entire city government going to renewable power for all its electricity within five years, which is very fast in the scheme of things. We're talking about getting rid of the kind of glass and steel skyscrapers that were made – bluntly – in a very backward way that really harmed the environment. And we're going to force building owners to save energy and stop this massive amount of emissions, as you heard, overwhelmingly our number one greenhouse gas emissions problem with a clear mandate. These are real ideas that work. In terms of an energy source, the fact that we're going to tap into Hydro-Quebec, which is something that could have been done a long time ago, wasn't, we're now going to do it. That's an idea that really, really matters because it's finally going to happen.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: New York City doesn't benefit sufficiently from that power, it's just a fact. And we need to make it happen.

Question: What about these other ideas like - ?

Mayor: I don't have a comment on – I've never heard the suggestion of damming the East River. I'm not sure that's practical. Not an expert on that, would anyone like to speak to those too? We'll get back to those because I don't have a comment on those. Go ahead.

Question: I have two questions on the hydro [inaudible]. So I'm hoping that you can elaborate on what you just said, because the city has been looking at this as a source of energy for years now and has been working with [inaudible], so what change could make this more urgent?

Mayor: Combination of things. The recognition that this has to be a priority in budget terms and otherwise because it's about survival, so we are going to be very aggressive, good conversations with the State because they also are moving in a more aggressive direction than was true in the past. And I think that's fantastic, I commend New York State. And for all of us, the recognition that Indian Point is going to go offline soon. We can't do business as usual and have enough of a supply of electricity. So I think its urgency and a willingness to have skin in the game. We don't know the exact cost yet but we do know overall, we think it's going to take about $3 billion, between all the different partners to achieve a transmission line that really can really open up that Canadian capacity and we're willing to be part of that.

Question: [Inaudible] follow up, so that, this might be better [inaudible] it has a capacity of eight terawatts per hour and the city government's buildings only require roughly four terawatts per hour. So who does the city expect to buy the remainder of the capacity of this? Because they've said they don't contracts for the entire [inaudible].

Director Chambers: Sure, so I think the one thing to pay attention to is that, you know, we know there is additional capacity north of the border in Canada. Being able to connect that directly into the city is the priority within five years. However we're able to structure something with all of our partners is what we would have moved forward with whether or not those partners are also offloading power, that's great too.

Question: [Inaudible].

Director Chambers: Just what the Mayor outlined is that all the partners that it would take to be able to access the power –

Mayor: State, utilities, private sector, it's going to be a group effort but the city is going to be front and center in that and we'll have skin in the game as I said. Okay, let me get some other folks in, yes?

Question: [Inaudible] mandatory [inaudible] how to do you get people to [inaudible] individual commitment, you know, separating scraps from your kitchen and that kind of thing, how do you get people to do that? [Inaudible] education or some more outreach effort?

Mayor: As I referred to, for those of you who were at the press conference about the plastic food ware, go back and see the epic organics video that my family and I did in 2014, it will tell you everything you need to know about how to handle organics. It's very – it's news you can use. We're going to have to do a huge education effort, there's no question. The fact is to get to mandatory organics collection citywide will be a legislative process, so there will be hearings, there'll be a real discussion of what it's going to take and how it's going to work, and there are real issues to address.

But we know it's crucial if we want to stop sending so much to the landfills, which is bad for the environment, which takes up a lot of energy which costs us a lot of money. This is the kind of change we have to make. Now I think what you will find is that more and more people are conscious of the need to change and their going to be willing to. But it will take time, it will take education, we'll have to make it as simple as possible, it won't happen overnight, but we think that's in the end the best way to get there. Way back?

Questions: [Inaudible] glass buildings [inaudible].

Mayor: The reason I'm saying ban is to emphasize the point that if a company came in, a landlord came in with the exact same kind of design that they've come in with in too many cases in the last – just few years, it will be rejected and they would not be allowed to build, period. That's why I say it's a ban. You literally will not be physically allowed to build the kinds of buildings that have gone up even recently in this town. Now, you know, there's good examples and Mark pointed out the Copper Building, the buildings that Cornell-Technion are built to much higher standards which is a good example that you can have, you know, a modern skyscraper that works. But honestly even some of the recent ones built in this city don't meet appropriate standards and those will no longer be allowed.

Question: What are the recent ones Mr. Mayor? Can you give us a couple of examples –

Mayor: We'll get you some examples but some of the ones at Hudson Yards actually are examples of the wrong way to do things.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: So let me separate and say, we can talk more about supertalls later on if you want, but I will just say we want to – look the supertalls are doing nothing for the City New York. They are not helpful, we are going to address them in a number of ways starting with the new regulations that are coming forward on the "void issue" but there is more to come because they have something that I don't think that contributes to New York City. But in terms of those buildings and how this new law with the retrofits affects them, want to speak to that? Give them the example of a supertall and what happens under the new retrofit law?

Director Chambers: Right, so like any other building over 25,000 square feet, they would be required to annually report their carbon intensity and if it exceeds for that building type than they will be fined.

Mayor: Okay, who has not gone? Way back?

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: Which mandates go into effect when?

Director Chambers: So there are currently two thresholds. So the first is 2024, so that as a slightly higher target to catch the top 20 percent – kind of the worst emitters – and then 2030 would be the secondary target to capture the rest of the buildings that need to be retrofitted.

Mayor: Okay, who has not gone? Melissa?

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: How do you measure?

Director Chambers: So already under benchmarking law in New York City, buildings, large buildings over 25,000 square feet are required to report their energy uses, electricity, steam, natural gas, oil. Through the same mechanisms of reporting, those buildings will also need to report their GHG intensity –

Mayor: GHG?

Director Chambers: Sorry, sorry, get a little bit deep for you –


The greenhouse gas intensity, so how much carbon their buildings are using. They will use a similar kind of calculator to do that and they'll need verify that and then they'll submit it annually with their benchmarking. And based on that you'll be able to see whether or not they are above that target for their particular building class, so whether it's residential or whether it's commercial or industrial or so forth.

Mayor: Yoav?

Question: On the future legislation on the organics recycling and also on the building – the glass building ban, when do you see those as being implemented? Will that happen this year or –

Mayor: Both. I expect both bills to be passed this year, we're going to have a process with the City Council but I think since it's only April that we're in line to get them both passed this year. Implementation quickly in the case of the ban on the traditional glass and steel buildings because that to me is about rewriting those elements of the code and giving, you know, a little bit of time for them to take effect but I think that's a very quick pass this year, hopefully takes effect as early as next year. On the mandatory organics, we got to figure out what's a fair timeline because we will have to do a lot of public education, we will have to get the buckets in peoples' hands in different ways, I think that's going to take a little longer but we got to figure that out in the legislative process. Gloria?

Question: Mayor, two questions. First, how are these fines going to work? How much will they be? 

Mayor: We can tell you that. Mark, do you want to talk about the fines? 

Director Chambers: Is there a follow-up that's related?

Mayor: You can do the first one first. 

Question: No, just on the fines.

Director Chambers: So, the fines are developed to be pricing out the carbon per-ton. So, that's the way in which the fines are developed. They are structured to be commensurate with the amount of work a building would need to do to retrofit. So, they're meant to be an incentive where you can pay the fine, or you can do the work and benefit from them and have your building benefit and your tenants benefit from a better performing building –

Mayor: And save money –

Director Chambers: And save money over time. 

Question: So, if I don't retrofit my building, what kind of fine am I looking at?

Director Chambers: So, it depends on how bad your building is performing and how far above the cap it is. And based on how far above it, there is a calculation in which you may – if you're a large building, you might be fined up to, as the Mayor said, over a million dollars. You may be just a little bit over the cap and it may be a couple thousand dollars. And a lot of the measures depends on how your building is performing, but it also gives the owners flexibility to address those in various ways, depending on what's better for their capital cycles, what's better for their financing cycles. 

Mayor: And Gloria, just on that – the million-dollar fine, if you get to that level, let's be clear, that's an annual fine. So, if you miss it in year-one, you're going to get hit with it again in year-two. 

Go ahead –

Question: I wasn't clear on the exemptions that you discussed at the beginning. So, are there exemptions for –

Mayor: There's not exemptions the way it's being pushed right now. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Director Chambers: So, there are not exemptions. So, everyone has a job to do, everyone has a role to play in this. What I mentioned is, with affordable housing, with houses of worship, and with hospitals, they are unique cases. And as the Mayor defined, they have slightly less stringent targets. So they are – will have a prescriptive list of actions that they need to take and need to verify that they've done those, and those are a lot of efforts that will be making sure your building is operating well, making sure that your building is insulated, making sure that your systems are up to code and meeting as much energy efficiency as possible for those buildings. And you'll have to verify it and submit that annually as well. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, can I just ask you, if I'm not mistaken, I think a version of these bills has been in the Council, even in the previous Council, and they didn't really move. So, what changed? I think it's been about five years since that –

Mayor: In the beginning, the first couple of years, we're trying to see if we could get to a voluntary plan with the private sector, and there was a task force put together and a lot of work went into it. And we obviously would have preferred a truly voluntary approach. But, you know, again, I warned people back at the United Nations in 2014 that if that didn't happen in a reasonable period of time we would move to the mandatory approach. The construction of that approach took an immense amount of work. It is very technical, it's very complex, and we had to make sure it legally passed muster, and it was viable, doable, and it would have the outcome we wanted, because it's one thing to build a regulation like this – we had to believe it would work and it would change behavior. And a lot of stakeholders were consulted along the way. So, there was a reason we went in those two steps. In the end, we did what we had to do. 

Who has not gone? Anyone not gone yet? Okay, people who have gone – go ahead, Anna. 

Question: Just a –

Mayor: Oh, I'm sorry – missed you back there. Anna, then you –

Question: Two questions. The first, you guys keep saying within five years, but in the press release it says 2030, so I'm a little confused. 

Mayor: We have two different concepts. Within five years is the first element of the building mandate. Within five years is the use of renewables for our electricity for New York City. So, both. 

Question: [Inaudible] within 2030 –

Mayor: That's the second phase. So, there's two phases. They'll go over it with you, but there's two phases. The law has a first trigger in five years, a second trigger in 10 years, but you have to start performing within the first five years. 

Question: Right now, the Board of Standards and Appeals often allows building owners to have certain exemptions when they're trying to get a certificate of occupancy, and this as been a big problem on Staten Island and suburban areas. I'm just a little curious, is there ever going to be a scenario when you see the energy code changes and the building owner appeals that and it goes through, or are you guys going to be very strict about it?

Mayor: Well, we're definitely going to be strict. I'm not enough an expert of the inner relationship of the energy code and the BSA. If someone here in our group wants to speak to it, that's great. But the bottom line is, this is a very intensive mandate. We're making clear to everyone this is a matter of survival. So, this is not one that I think will be deviated from very lightly. 

Way back –

Question: [Inaudible] 

Mayor: Yeah, look, for New York City – I mean, there's a lot of pieces to the puzzle of global warming, as you point out. For New York City, job-one was to address the buildings. And this is true in big cities around the world, but particularly here – this was the way we could make the number-one impact. But we also have been addressing the issue of food, which is why you see in the OneNYC plan that the City is going to reduce its purchases of beef as a part of the solution. 



Question: Mr. Mayor, do you think that supporting the Green New Deal will help raise green for your presidential campaign?

Mayor: Marcia, we are here talking about a government policy that's been worked on for five years and has come to fruition. It's going to make a huge impact for the people of New York City, but I also think it's going to be a model for this country and all around the world. That's what this is about. 

Question: [Inaudible] presidential –

Mayor: That's all this is about. 

Question: How does the City expect to pay for the higher cost of electricity from the hydro power lines?

Mayor: So, look, it is a true statement that hydro power will likely cost something more. What I said to you earlier is the answer – we recognize that this will be a budget commitment. We obviously – our job is to make that cost as low as possible, and we won't know until we get there, and, you know, we're going to have a limit on what we're willing to pay, as per usual. But if it costs somewhat more, it's worth it is my view. We have to address global warming and we don't have the benefit of a national government leading the way. So, you know, we're the biggest city in the country, we're the largest metropolitan area in the country, we have to do something fundamental. And I can't think of anything that's better to spend money on than saving the earth, that's the bottom line. 

Question: Sorry, one more –

Mayor: Please.

Question: On organics – so, will you be rolling out the expansion of the voluntary [inaudible] this year and add any funding to that? [Inaudible]

Mayor: Look, we are clearly trying to figure out a long-term plan that will make the organics effort work, and everyone knows it's been challenging so far. That's why we've turned to the notion of a true citywide approach and a mandatory approach. As I said, it's going to take real work with the Council, and a lot of talking to people all over the City to figure out how to make it work. What's happened so far has bene a good effort, but we know it hasn't achieved what we had hoped in some ways, and so we decided to go in a new direction. 


Question: Mr. Mayor, will the new green deal –

Mayor: Green New Deal, Rich.

Question: Sorry.


Mayor: C'mon. I like your green tie though. I want to commend you, I give you a point back for being sartorially correct today.


Question: [Inaudible] this deal –


Mayor: That's very good.

Question: – and it's retrofit requirements. 

Mayor: Will it?

Question: [Inaudible] retrofit requirements force the reduction of greenhouse gases from Trump Tower?

Mayor: Trump Tower – it's equal opportunity. They're going to be treated like everybody else. 


My expert will confirm – are they over 25,000 square feet, Mark?

Director Chambers: Yes.


Mayor: Okay, our expert panel has weighed in. Rich, the answer is yes. 

Question: Given the stance of, you know, Mr. Trump [inaudible]?

Mayor: Rich, why would that bring a special joy to all of us? It is – fair is fair. And you know, maybe he'll learn a lesson from it, because he's kind of chintzy with his money, so maybe he'll learn a lesson with it. 

Question: The plan focuses heavily on reducing building emissions, but is there a way to be bolder in terms of [inaudible] car exhaust? Not you personally, but whether or like not rebuilding the BQE, or creating more pedestrian plazas besides Lower Manhattan?

Mayor: So, we're definitely looking, going forward, as to changes we might make based on a lot less car usage. We certainly believe congestion pricing will reduce the amount of cars being used, and better mass transit even more. We're going to, in the process with the BQE, look at a lot of options, for sure. But I think, at the same time, we have to be careful not to assume that car usage is going to change immediately, and, in some cases, we have to accept that we need the capacity we need, and that's going to be a big part of the BQE discussion. So, the idea is in the mix, yes, but I don't think it's time yet to be able to say exactly how much car reduction we can anticipate. 

Question: [Inaudible] 

Mayor: Dan or Mark?

Director Chambers: I believe it's slated for by the end of this calendar year.

Mayor: Okay, on this New York City Green New Deal – any other questions? From media? Yes?

Question: You mentioned Vermont, the population of Vermont [inaudible]? 

Mayor: No, no, I think you might – I'm not sure if you can hear me out there, so I'm going to try it again. I was just trying to give a comparison. I think they have more population than that, but the point is, we're talking about the City government's usage, not the whole people of New York City, just City government operations, just the electricity we use each day is as much as everything that happens in Vermont in a day when it comes to electricity. I was just trying to give people a sense of the sheer magnitude, that's all we're saying. 

Question: But do you think it's sending a message [inaudible]?

Mayor: No, we absolutely believe they can meet it, and that's my point – that we – the City of New York is meeting these standards ourselves. We went first. We lead the way. We didn't ask people to do something that we weren't willing to do ourselves. And there was a lot of dialogue with the business community on how to do this, and a lot of their ideas were respected and integrated in. But the need for stringent mandates was non-negotiable. There's two much at stake. So, we listened on better ways to do it and we listened to ideas about what would be practical, but where we weren't going to bend is, we must get the result. And if we don't get the results, there will be real fines. 

Okay, last call on New York City Green New Deal – going once, twice. Okay, before we move on, I just want to ask everyone – before you move on, Donovan, that means you.


Before you move on, everyone, just a serious topic for everyone. We saw a really particularly horrible, grotesque incident in Sri Lanka, and we're all pained that we see these attacks on houses of worship. This is one of the worst we've ever seen, such a horrible premeditated attack on people worshipping on one of the holiest days – the holiest day of the year. And our hearts are with the people of Sri Lanka, and our prayers are with the families of those who are lost. And in New York City, we know too much about terrorism, and when we see these kind of horrible attacks, we all feel it here. 

So, I just want to ask everyone for a moment of silence for the people of Sri Lanka. 

[Moment of silence is observed] 

Thank you, very much. 

Okay, other topics. Media – other topics. Yes? Wait, I'm sorry. For all these people who have been standing so long – I think you've stood up for the environment today.


Happy Earth Day, and you can go now.



Okay, alright, let's take some off-topic – yes?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Your hand –

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Okay, it looked like your hand was coming out of Rich's arm, so I couldn't figure out what was happening there.

Question: The – NYCWiN, the wireless network – considering the massive cost [inaudible] why is the City planning on extending the [inaudible] –

Mayor: Well, it's only until January, is what I understand. I'll double check it but that's my understanding. It's just transitioning out at this point.

Question: Transitioning out to what?

Mayor: To a new approach which I will get you details on but in terms of your immediate question, they're not going to be a part of our lives much longer.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Again, I'll get our team to brief you on that. Yes?

Question: [Inaudible] this weekend the NYPD was seizing bikes in Tompkins Square Park [inaudible] an appropriate use of NYPD resources?

Mayor: I don't know anything about that incident so, I literally can't comment until I get more information but we'll look at that.

Question: The City is considering demolishing and rebuilding two NYCHA sites in [inaudible] –

Mayor: No. False. False. False.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Because we're not going to do demolition unless we have already built a replacement building first. So –

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: The story, in my view, did not say that and I think it created some real confusion. We're clear that the – first of all, anything like that would go through a whole process with the community but the vision we've made very, very clear is that any time where we're moving people around within a development we have to create the new capacity first.

Question: Okay, well, even with that piece [inaudible] residents would that plan – I mean, are you considering doing that for other NYCHA sites –

Mayor: We – the bottom line is the plan that we put forward, the NYCHA 2.0, makes clear that we intend to do the RAD program which involves fixing developments from within so you move people around within the development to do that. That's already been done in New York City effectively – that's 60,000-plus units. And we're going to do development of new buildings on NYCHA land that will include affordable housing as part of them. We have to figure out while simultaneously in a lot of cases fixing the surrounding buildings with the proceeds we get. So, this is – every situation will be individual but I want everyone to be really clear, anything like that is going to be very public and we only act when we have the capacity to ensure that people can stay on the site while we're building new things. Anna?

Question: Where is the City on its review of the NYCWiN system going dark? And do you agree with Council Member Ritchie Torres that DOI should probe that [inaudible] contract?

Mayor: The review will be done by the end of the month and will be made public. I don't believe from what I've seen that this is a question that is a typical DOI question. But I may need to hear more to be convinced of that. But the bottom line is we had a breakdown. We're going to get down to the bottom of why it happened and we're going to be public about it.

Question: Mayor, when did you first learn that DOI had substantiated conflict of interest violations against you [inaudible] –

Mayor: I'm not going into that. I've talked about it many times.

Question: [Inaudible] findings?

Mayor: Again, I'm not going to talk about it anymore. I've said that very clearly. What else? Yes?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: No, the report is inaccurate. The discussion – well, I don't even know who had the discussion and what they said, and then it's been relayed by someone else. It's just – the information has clearly gotten garbled. There is not any part of our plans for NYCHA where a building will be demolished unless a replacement is already built. So, I just referred now to the RAD initiative. In the RAD initiative, buildings are rehabbed and people are moved within the development as they are rehabbed. And then separately, we're going to be doing additional development on NYCHA sites including affordable housing but we would only – if someone needed to be moved as part of fixing their building, we would only do that when a new capacity was available on site. Obviously, our goal with a development is to bring in a lot of money that then can be used to fix the surrounding buildings but we want to do it in such a fashion as to keep people on the site while we move around and ultimately fix everything.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: There's not a specific plan. We're looking at different ways to approach it. It's one site we definitely could see the ability to do more with. But we don't have a specific final plan yet.

Question: Two things. Can we get an update on the numbers as it pertains to the measles outbreak? And then the second issue – Andy Byford, there's a lot of concern about whether or not he's going to stay in his position [inaudible] –

Mayor: Let me do the first one first and we'll go to that. On the measles, the latest count is 374 cases, and as you may have heard from the other day, we have four schools now closed down and they will not be reopened unless they can certify that all their kids are vaccinated. We've given out several individual violations. That number will go up. So, we're going to keep escalating our response until we see this crisis end. But, again, the number today – 374. The second question was –

Question: It was regarding Andy Byford. Are you concerned about whether or not he will stay on as part of the job, and if you do support of him staying on is there anything you have said or can say or do to ensure that he can [inaudible]?

Mayor: Yeah, I'm not familiar with the current state of play. I respect Andy Byford. I think he's done good work. I think the Fast Forward plan really helped us all to focus on what we needed to do to fix the subways, and it helped us get to the congestion pricing plan. So, I certainly hope he stays. I'm not familiar with the details in the state of play. If there's anything I can do to help, I certainly will.

Question: [Inaudible] –

Mayor: Hopeful. I don't think I said confident but maybe – I don't know what my exact word was but I am hopeful. We never know with these things until you get there but we feel – because we've seen the vaccination levels go up, it's pushing 1,000 kids now vaccinated. That's a very good sign. I have no doubt in my mind – because I've been talking to community leaders constantly – that the message has been heard loud and clear down to the grassroots. I think these aggressive actions are registering with people. So, folks who are looking for real information about health care or getting it and folks who need a stronger motivation are getting that. So, I am hopeful. But I want to be careful to say we don't have a date certain. We don't know the exact way but we think we're moving in the right direction.

Any last questions – yes, Gloria?

Question: Back on the NYCHA demolition story.

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Did that say that the people wouldn't be moved out of their buildings unless there was a place for them to move into. But is there – is this a policy that your administration is considering going forward? This kind of approach to demolish a site in order to rehab it if you can get another building [inaudible] –

Mayor: So, the reason – when I saw the articles I felt they really were misleading suggesting that we would demolish a building and then tell people, 'You can come back one day,' which is what was done in other places and, often, failed miserably. So, we were explicit from the beginning that's not what we're going to do. When we announced NYCHA 2.0 several months ago, the whole idea is that this work has to happen on site through RAD or if you're building new affordable housing on the site, and then you say okay, 'We've got this new money that came from the development, we want to fix all the buildings around it,' clearly to fix buildings in some cases you have to move people someplace else.

So, it's somewhere else within the development that could also include the new affordable housing. So, that gives us a potential option there. But all this – this was a policy obviously announced a few months ago. You're going to start to see specific examples coming forward. But the only thing I'm comfortable with is if people can stay in their same development while any rehab is happening.

Question: [Inaudible] buy-in on that from the local officials? My understanding is that Corey, who represents that area where the housing complex is located, is not on board. Have you been talking with officials about –

Mayor: Again, we don't have a specific plan. That's where, again, I felt the reporting suggested a level of specificity that didn't exist and wasn't accurate about the details. There's not a specific plan. We're looking at different option. We're going to be talking with local elected officials. But it's all consistent with NYCHA 2.0. That's my point.

Last call – going once, twice. Everybody get dry – Happy Earth Day.

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