New York’s Cuomo Calls For Carbon-Free Electricity By 2040

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled his 2019 Justice Agenda, which includes plans for carbon-free electricity in the state. 

The full agenda urges the legislature to act in the first 100 days of the next legislative session. Overall, it represents a suite of proposals to “ensure the promise of full, true justice for all,” including economic, social and racial justice, the governor explained in a speech hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal U.S. think tank, at Hunter College in New York City. In regards to climate change, the governor called it a “life and death” situation.

Noting that the federal government still denies climate change, Cuomo said launching a Green New Deal in New York would make the state’s electricity 100% carbon-neutral by 2040 and put New York on a path to eliminating its carbon footprint. As explained by the Sierra Club, a Green New Deal is a “big, bold transformation of the economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change.” Currently, local groups are pushing for state-level Green New Deals, and the Sierra Club says it has been working with partners and allies to develop a framework for a Green New Deal and urging members of Congress to back the initiative. 

On Twitter, Cuomo said New York would be U.S.’ “most progressive state” under the carbon-neutral plan:

In response to the speech, Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York and Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, have released the following statement:

“The governor’s ongoing commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and addressing climate change once again demonstrates New York’s leadership on critical environmental issues. Climate change is indeed a ‘life and death’ situation, and New York is leading by doing. The renewable energy industry stands ready to help achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity and put thousands of New Yorkers to work in the process. We are pleased this issue is among the governor’s legislative priorities and look forward to working with the legislature on policies to grow the renewable energy industry in New York.”

“Governor Cuomo’s commitment to move New York to 100 percent carbon-free electricity is historic and will cement New York’s place among America’s clean energy leaders,” notes Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in a statement. “This plan can bring massive economic and environmental benefits to communities throughout the state, spurring many new, well-paying jobs and cleaner air.”

According to SEIA, the move would make New York the fourth state with a 100% clean electricity or clean energy goal, following California, Hawaii and New Jersey

Following Cuomo’s announcement, Alicia Barton, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), tweeted, “This is what bold climate leadership looks like.”

The carbon-neutral announcement follows the New York State Public Service Commission’s recent approval of two initiatives to dramatically increase New York’s energy efficiency and energy storage targets, first announced as part of Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State clean energy agenda.

Cuomo’s full speech can be watched here:

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