Climate Plan Positions New York As Leader

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With enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the Empire State will be on track to set the most ambitious legislative mandate for carbon reductions in the world. Photo credit: Kovalenko I/Adobe Stock

NEW YORK – New York is set to become a global leader in the efforts to fight climate change. 

With enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the Empire State will be on track to set the most ambitious legislative mandate for carbon reductions in the world. 

The plan calls for getting 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, to get to 100% carbon free power by 2040, and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. 

According to Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, those goals will be difficult to achieve but they can be reached.

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“On the electricity side, if we have a doubling of goals for land-based wind and solar plus 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind, we can make it to 70% renewable electricity,” she states.

Critics of the legislation point out that emission reductions for transportation and buildings, more than half of total greenhouse gas emissions, will be difficult and expensive.

While New York is setting ambitious targets for carbon pollution reduction, the Trump administration is going in the other direction. 

Reynolds points out that on Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency finalized its plan to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

“That won’t slow us down in terms of reducing carbon emissions in New York, but it will slow down the rest of the country, and pollution from Midwest power plants does come in and affect the health of New Yorkers, so that is an unfortunate side effect for us,” she states.

The new EPA plan sets no goals for carbon emission reductions from the power sector, leaving that up to the states to decide.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act adds New York to a growing list of states aiming for 100% renewable energy by the middle of the century. But Reynolds notes there’s still a lot of work to do to start making that goal a reality.

“There’s a lot of councils and advisory groups and environmental justice work groups that need to be formed,” she stresses. “The state should form all of those this summer so they can begin to really craft a plan starting in the fall.”

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