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No One Wants to Jump First. Can New York Climate Week Provide the Push?


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Things are heating up in the Big Apple this week and it’s not just from climate change. British royals, world leaders and real estate magnates are all getting hot for New York Climate Week 

This year’s New York Climate Week (September 17-24) will be the hottest yet with the loudest plaudits going to those who are prepared to ‘jump first’ on decarbonisation, said Yetsuh Frank, EVORA Global Executive Vice President.

New York Climate Week has been growing in prominence year-on-year and this year coincides with the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit, founded by Prince William.

The event also takes place during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, where the climate crisis will be a major talking point for world leaders.

Yetsuh says with senior leaders in real estate planning their journeys toward net zero, the week will spark many conversations on how the sector needs to change.

But he notes that many business leaders and fund managers are still waiting for others to “jump first” into decarbonisation.

“New York Climate Week has long been an excellent vehicle for climate progress and I’ve been heartened over the years by a growing focus on the role real assets have to play in solving the most pressing challenges we face,” said Yetsuh.

“Decarbonizing real estate will be front and center in Climate Week conversations this year. Real estate investors all over the world have been watching how new laws in New York which place carbon limits on buildings have been having an effect.”

In 2019, New York City enacted Local Law 97, described as one of the most ambitious local climate laws in the world. The law requires the owners of buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to meet strict regulations on carbon emissions.

Starting in 2024, Local Law 97 will require many building owners to retrofit their properties or face stiff penalties each year.

“It’s a major change for the city and also one of the very first laws which limits the amount of carbon a building can produce. I think the fact that such a law has been brought into force here in New York is very significant as people from all around the world will become aware of it.

“In real estate, as in other industries, everyone is watching what everyone else is doing. With decarbonization, no one wants to jump first, so having a major city provide guidance on what a plan should look like will have a big impact across the industry, well beyond NYC.

“The year ahead is going to be very interesting for real estate in New York. The first reporting period for Local Law 97 is in 2024, with potential fines for those who exceed the carbon limits. This should be a big talking point in New York Climate Week.”