New York State commits to bold climate action and investment

Author: Emely Anico, Program Officer - Under2 Coalition
26 July 2019

Last Week, Governor Cuomo of New York State, a member of the Under2 Coalition, signed into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and awarded contracts for two of the largest offshore wind projects in the United States. 

What is the legislation set to achieve?

Among its objectives, the legislation aims to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels over the next three decades, achieve a carbon-free electric grid by 2040, and return at least 35% of all benefits of these investments to disadvantaged communities. The remaining 15% of emissions will be addressed through carbon offsets.

Currently, the state’s carbon-free electricity comes from hydropower and nuclear plants. The CLCPA aims to generate 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind electricity by 2035, a target that is already progressing as two new offshore wind projects announced by Gov. Cuomo will generate a combined 1,700 megawatts of electricity. In terms of solar, the law sets a target of 6,000 megawatts of solar energy generation by 2025 and just last year New York state committed to invest $40 million in solar projects that integrate energy storage.

Implementation

A number of grassroots efforts have converged in New York to make this legislation possible, including several years’ worth of consistent advocacy and pressure from a broad network of political, business, and community leaders. This sweeping climate legislation is significant not only for its scope and ambition, but also for its consideration of environmental justice issues and disadvantaged communities. 

Looking ahead

As the third largest economy in the country, New York is paving the way for transitioning the U.S. to a greener economy, especially considering the gridlock, and even regression, happening at the federal level.

The CLCPA serves as a model for other states to follow and several states and cities have already become leaders at the subnational level, announcing bold targets related to clean energy and carbon neutrality. New York City, for instance, passed the Climate Mobilization Act in April 2019 which requires city buildings to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions by 2030 or face fines.

The true test begins now as New York’s state agencies prepare for the implementation of the goals set out in the CLCPA. New York’s two largest sources of emissions, transportation and buildings, must be the primary targets for electrification in order to meet these goals.  

New York State is a member of the Under2 Coalition, a group of ambitious state and regional governments committed to keeping global temperature rises to well below 2°C.

Find out more about the Under2 Coalition

Please contact:
Nehmat Kaur, Acting Head of Government Relations, The Climate Group
+91 (0) 4987 4369
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