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City Comptroller Scott Stringer calls on de Blasio to commit $1 billion per year to energy efficiency

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/23/2020 By Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News

City Comptroller Scott Stringer is calling on Mayor de Blasio to commit a whopping $1 billion per year toward retrofitting affordable and public housing units to be more energy efficient.

The cash would build on the city’s “Dirty Buildings Law” that requires energy upgrades and improvements to buildings in the Big Apple.

“Climate change is the most pressing challenge of our time, and we must take aggressive action to protect our planet for future generations,” Stringer said in a Wednesday statement.

“As Australia burns and sea levels continue to rise,” he added, “New York City needs to confront the climate crisis head on and leverage every tool at our disposal, like green bonds, to help build the sustainable future our children deserve.”

The comptroller, City Council members and reps from environmental groups plan to hold a rally Thursday, in which they’ll also call for a bond program to raise $3 billion to fund local renewable energy projects.

They’ll say that without huge investments, the city won’t be able to meet its goal of reducing climate-harming carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Last year, city pols budgeted $60 million to start retrofitting municipal buildings. Retrofitting can entail changes to lighting and upgrades to air distribution systems. De Blasio proposed about $300 million for “building construction, reconstruction or retrofit” over the next four years in the budget he proposed earlier this month.

But environmentalists say there’s much more to be done.

“Money matters: without bigger annual city budget investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, climate change will defeat us. We cannot let that happen,” Maritza Silva-Farrell, head of advocacy group ALIGN, said in a statement.

“Scaling up energy efficiency is essential to meeting New York City’s climate goals, but should not come at the expense of displacing low-income people and people of color who live in rent-regulated housing,” Priya Mulgaonkar of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance said in a statement. “These communities deserve the health and quality of life benefits of low-carbon buildings, from cleaner air to more comfortable homes to lower utility bills.”

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