It can be said that the most interesting part of the New York City package is not the cap. It's the trade or rather the potential for it. At present, North America has two carbon markets, with stock exchanges where members who emit less than a certain amount of greenhouse gases earn essentially tokens that 's not worth it. they can sell to gas emitters. This is a cap-and-trade approach, a market approach that has long been advocated and little implemented to combat climate change. California have a program linked to one in Quebec; after a difficult start, many observers now see it as a qualified success. On the other side of the continent, nine mid-Atlantic states, from Maine to Maryland, have the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, another qualified success. (There was almost a national cap-and-trade program, in 2010, Washington failed to do it.)
In these programs, traders are industries that emit greenhouse gases, power plants, and so on. But New York does not have many. Transport is not an important contributor either. Emitters are the tall buildings that look like New York: skyscrapers. So, in New York, it will be the entities that negotiate, among themselves. The only other city that has ever tried a building-based cap-and-trade system is Tokyowhere large buildings account for 40% of total carbon emissions. New York may be the next, limiting emissions from buildings, monitoring the amount of electricity and fuel oil they consume, and letting buildings exchange emission credits.
This could be the beginning of a fundamental review of what is important in cities and how to manage them. If skyscrapers are capped and exchanged, they are sort of independent political and technical units. Maybe it's not quite an arcology, Paolo Soleri's notion of a dense megacity built into a unique complex built with precision. Not yet. But this New York policy treats the buildings a bit.
Perhaps you know the famous phrase of the architect Le Corbusier, "a house is a machine to live". But this great modernist was not as reductionist as people would suggest. His paragraph continues: "Baths, sun, hot water, cold water, heat at will, food preservation, hygiene, beauty in the sense of good proportions.An armchair is a machine to sit and so on." fit together perfectly. I do not know what kind of machine is a city; metaphors abound. A be alive! A computer! A brain!
But I started thinking that skyscrapers are the most important gears of the machine, or any other fundamental element – I do not know, maybe the metaphor will collapse. But these iconic objects are both a symbol of urbanity and a container for all that is urban. Manufacturing, living space, retail, storage, display, perhaps even food production, perhaps even the production of energy. I'm probably going too far here – or maybe it's a gargoyle, or one of those postmodern fin-things – but just 150 years from their existence, skyscrapers have become almost irreducible units of the city. "It must be big, every square centimeter," writes architect Louis Sullivan in 1896 (in the same article where he coined "form follows function", while it was in reality "the form always follows the function "). The power of the altitude must be there, the glory and the pride of the exaltation must be there. "And the person who designs the skyscrapers," wrote Sullivan, "should understand" that the problem of the large office building is one of the most formidable, one of the most wonderful occasions that the Lord of Nature, in his beneficence, has ever offered to the proud spirit of man. "No pressure.
New York buildings above a certain size must already declare their energy consumption once a year. The application of the new limits is part of the complexity of implementing the new laws; it is certainly an obstacle, certainly not insurmountable, to let property owners buy and sell their programs. Another obstacle is the volume. Cities have many more buildings than power plants; in New York, about 100,000 buildings will be in this hypothetical market. The second largest, the RGGI of the Northeast States, has only about 500 regulated entities.
Policymakers will also have to find a way to be fair to the different types of buildings that will be taken on the market. "The level of sophistication of the regulated entities is very different," said Danielle Spiegel-Feld, executive director of the Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Planning Law. from the University of New York. "But I am very much in favor of this law and the trading of emission rights, because much can be done to reduce energy demand and better align with our reform goals. network. " A skyscraper, for example, might be better placed to balance a 24-hour energy load or in seasons, relying on wind turbines in windy winter. Depending on what is hidden above, a deep foundation may be a good way to heat and cool geothermal energy. Buildings are already technical wonders; They can surely become even more wonderful.
One of the leaders of the Urban Green Council, which eventually shaped the New York law, was that people or entities with multiple buildings in New York City could use a portfolio effect; Older and poorer buildings may be on the emissions market for newer, LEED-certified buildings. But none of this still exists. The board undertook sorting the details and, ideally, exporting them. "What we think of in New York, we will hit the road and we have aligned partners in Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and London," said John Mandyck, CEO of the Urban Green Council. "The cap-and-trade system is not new, but applying it in this way to the construction sector is very new at the city level, so it becomes an innovative policy tool for reduce carbon emissions. "
My shameful confession: when I saw the first ad Urban Urban Council plans to work with international partners. I thought that New York buildings could exchange their emissions with only one other, but also with buildings in these other cities. Just as cities have become unofficial signatories to international climate treaties and participants in transnational efforts reduce atmospheric carbon, even if questionable legalityPerhaps individual skyscrapers might themselves have some sort of sovereignty. After all, their basements will be flooded when storms rise and ice caps melt.
I was wrong about this; a transoceanic carbon market for skyscrapers is not expected. But this could be. Tokyo's carbon market is linked to the city of Saitama … which, OK, is part of the same megalopolitan spread, a political rather than geographical distinction. But that, and the California-Quebec market, imply that it's possible. "I plan to do more concrete research to find out if a US city has the power to enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction, an international jurisdiction, to recognize an emissions trading permit," said Spiegel-Feld. "The economy is in favor – the bigger the market, the greater the cost savings can be.The question is whether they really have the power to do it themselves."
But imagine the possible futures. Developers could insist that architects and engineers integrate the efficiency of buildings from the outset, so that they can budget for emissions credits. Vegetation and solar panels on surfaces, whole soils that produce food or sequester carbon, internal water purification systems, wind, geothermal … what about the piezoelectric conductive fibers integrated into the superstructure? a supertall, so that every building generates power? Each skyscraper could be its own politically and energetically independent arcology, a place for colleagues and cohousers, like Whittier, Alaska-The entire city in a building because it's too cold to go out. Some smarter writers I came here first; The Arcosanti de Soleri are an example, but these are Paolo Bacigalupi's post-climate-apocalyptic autonomous arcologies. The water knifeand more kibbutz versions of Kim Stanley Robinson New York 2140. And these buildings could talk to each other and maintain a global environment not only through the streets or the city, but also the whole planet.
And if they do not? At least New York will begin this last reflection on the importance of high-rise buildings. They still represent a wonderful and wonderful opportunity, as Sullivan said. If armchairs are machines for sitting and houses are machines for living, skyscrapers can be machines for keeping these armchairs and houses, as well as the people who sit and live there, in an increasingly urban and unpredictable world.
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(tagsToTranslate) Climate change (t) Architecture (t) Cities</pre></pre>