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90 by 50

NYC can reduce its carbon footprint 90 percent by 2050

Original publication by Urban Green Council • February 25, 2013

To ensure a secure and prosperous future global environment, we must dramatically reduce carbon pollution by 2050. Through the use of cutting-edge technologies like improved insulation, electrification and heat pumps, we can create a city almost completely free of carbon emissions.

Our 2013 report, 90 by 50, demonstrates that a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 is possible using technologies that are known and in almost all cases currently available. Furthermore, the cost is manageable from a citywide perspective.

90 by 50 cover

Key findings

  1. 75 percent of NYC’s emissions come from buildings.
  2. 39 percent of building energy in 2010 was supplied by carbon-free sources; this must be 100 percent to meet the 2050 goal.
  3. If we move toward 90 percent renewable energy sources by 2050, the cost will be negligible when compared to savings.
  4. A 90 percent reduction by 2050 is realistic even with current technology.

90 by 50’s modeling of eight typical building types shows that heating and cooling loads can be reduced through retrofits to a point where all thermal loads can be met by heat pumps, eliminating building fuel use.

This report is the first study to demonstrate how an American city can achieve the emissions reductions necessary to mitigate extreme climate change.

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See how NYC can reduce emissions 90 percent by 2050.