The City of New York has begun enforcing a law that threatens to fine stores and businesses that leave their doors open while running an air conditioner. The law provides for penalties of up to $400 per repeat offense.
The City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin explained that many businesses open their doors during the summer to “lure customers inside with cool air.” Benin says the practice adds a “harmful cost to our city’s environment” and is “a waste of money for the business.”
One might ask whether a business has the right to decide how much air conditioning it wants to “waste,” rather than follow a city mandate. But the overriding agenda behind the law is clearly an environmental one. As City Council Member Costa Constantinides explained, “Shutting the front doors of businesses so that air conditioning doesn’t escape can help reduce carbon emissions by thousands of tons.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has proudly committed to a goal of reducing New York City’s carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. And so, the air-conditioning law is simply one step in this greater effort to lower “greenhouse gases.”
Ironically, the air-conditioning law claims that it will help businesses save money by lowering their utility costs. However, New York City is in the vanguard of municipalities calling for the adoption of “renewable” power via wind and solar generation.
Unfortunately, such renewables are proving costly in actual practice, and countries like Germany are finding that the widespread adoption of intermittent wind and solar have driven energy costs to nearly three times the U.S. average. Thus New York City’s plan to save money on air-conditioning bills, while simultaneously pushing for the adoption of more expensive power generation, could leave consumers worse off in the long haul.
Regardless, New York City’s new law is simply one more step in an encroaching green agenda—one that exalts in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, even at the expense of personal freedom or long-term economic sense.