Energy Efficiency | November 13, 2019

Hey NYC Businesses: Don’t Get Caught by the Carbon Tax

At a time when climate change is a hot topic, lowering carbon emissions has become a top priority for cities across the US. At the forefront, New York City announced its Climate Mobilization Act earlier this year, designed to motivate businesses to lower their carbon output. As a reminder, SmartCitiesDive defines this as:

“The city's Climate Mobilization Act set a landmark goal by requiring buildings over 25,000 square feet to cut climate emissions 40% by 2030 and more than 80% by 2050.”

There are dozens of opinion articles all over the web arguing for the benefits or detriments of this legislation, which includes Local Law 97 in NYC, specific to the above greenhouse gas emissions goals. Whatever your approach, the reality remains that it has passed and will begin affecting thousands of New York City based businesses starting in 2024.


carbon tax timelines

This timeline by the Urban Green Council outlines primary milestones companies should be aware of.

When the Climate Mobilization Act and NYC's Local Law 97 were first announced, many publications covered news of the update and provided some details about what to expect. For the most part however, the news cycle has moved on – but the financial implications of this legislation and affected businesses are still in place. For those New York facilities potentially facing serious financial penalties for their carbon emissions, here’s what you should know:

  • You could face fines defined as: “Maximum penalty is the difference between a building’s annual emissions limit and its actual emissions multiplied by $268 times the square footage of the building”
  • Get started today. The quicker you audit your space and start implementing efficiency strategies, the better. Even if changes and modifications are made to the law in the future to accommodate additional cases, this law is going into effect and waiting to mobilize will only hinder your options down the road.

Earlier this fall, New York announced its first 9 government building projects receiving a deep-dive analysis for energy retrofits, setting an example for other businesses in the city. Don’t lag behind them and start exploring your own energy retrofit options today!


This blog post is part of a multi-post series surrounding the new legislation Local Law 97, affecting thousands of buildings and businesses across New York City. This series aims to look at multiple viewpoints on the new law and how it can affect your business, as well as how you can work to avoid noncompliance fines by acting today. 


More information about Local Law 97: