New York becomes the first state to ban natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new residential buildings, a move that has been hailed as a significant victory for climate activists.
The law prohibits the use of gas-powered stoves, furnaces, and propane heating and instead encourages the use of climate-friendly appliances such as induction stoves and heat pumps. The law requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026 and in taller buildings by 2029.
While similar policy efforts exist in other cities and localities, New York’s ban is the first of its kind at the state level.
Methane, the primary component of natural gas used to fuel stoves and heat homes, has more than 80 times as much warming power as carbon dioxide in the first two decades it’s in the atmosphere, making it a significant contributor to global warming.
Scientists have focused on the natural gas as a means of rapidly reducing planet-warming pollution; however, the fuel industry has pushed back on the state’s new law, arguing that it takes away consumer choice.
One legal expert who tracks natural gas bans has suggested that while the ban is "potentially a very big deal," it may face legal challenges.
In addition to banning natural gas, the budget deal pushes other climate change measures, including the creation of publicly-owned renewable energy projects that would create green jobs, as well as a cap-and-invest program.
It has been three years since New York implemented its landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which commits the state to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.