New York passes climate plan to meet net-zero emissions by mid-century
Author: Eduardo Cuevas
The Climate Action Council, a state body, passed its final scoping plan to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, with carbon offsets all while setting benefits toward communities most vulnerable to climate change. These goals were mandated under the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. State agencies and legislators will be tasked with achieving requirements set by the law, considered the most sweeping climate legislation of any state: By 2030, the state must have 70% renewable energy production and must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, By 2040, the state must have 100% zero-emission electricity through sources such as solar, wind and improved battery storage, By 2050, New York would arrive at net-zero emissions with offsets such as carbon sequestration. The plan recommends a “cap-and-invest program” akin to California’s cap-and-trade program. The policy would put a “cap” on total permitted emissions units, known as allowances. Polluting companies would then buy and sell a declining set of allowances — the “invest” — creating economic incentives for polluters to reduce emissions over time. The plan also calls for billions of investments in reshaping buildings’ energy efficiency, which currently account for about a third of the state’s emissions, the highest of any sector. Between one and two million homes should transition to electric heat pumps by 2030, the report outlines.