New York Governor Hochul looks to ban natural gas in new buildings

Governor Kathy Hochul is working with New York State legislators on a final budget plan that would prohibit natural gas from being used in new construction across the state. Officials from the governor’s office recently told Reuters that Hochul is currently working to finish the proposal.

The announcement follows Hochul’s pledge to achieve “zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027,” which she announced in her State of the State speech in January. In the absence of federal legislation, the statewide initiative follows similar proposals in dozens of other cities that have aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings account for between 35% and 40% of U.S. emissions when all inputs, such as the fabrication of construction materials like cement and steel, and the electricity required to power them are included. New York City Council members voted in December to pass a rule prohibiting the use of gas in most new buildings less than seven stories beginning in 2023, as well as new major structures exceeding seven stories starting in 2027.

Other cities, like Ithaca, Boston, Eugene, and several cities in California, including Berkeley, have taken similar steps to decarbonize their structures. Chefs and restaurateurs have objected to these proposals, claiming that electric stoves are ineffective compared to natural gas burners. Executive chef and founder of San Francisco restaurant China Live, George Chen explained, “To say that an electric stove is as good as a gas one is misunderstanding the art of cooking.”

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