The New York State Assembly last week successfully passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which lays out sweeping decarbonization targets for New York's electric generating sector and economy at large. The legislation, which passed the Assembly in the last moments of the legislative session and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign, represents the culmination of New York's aspirations to pass a Green New Deal bill and a victory for environmental advocates who adopted an intense lobbying campaign to push climate legislation forward.
New York, traditionally a leader in green energy policy, has recently found itself lagging behind states such as California, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, New Mexico and Washington, each having enacted their own more aggressive 100 percent renewable energy goals. Once signed, however, the CLCPA will thrust New York back to the forefront of states aggressively taking action to mitigate the perceived threats of climate change.
The legislation requires that New Yorkers procure 70 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040. To achieve these renewable energy targets, the bill directs the build out of nearly 9,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035, 6,000 MW of solar energy by 2025 and a 23 percent increase in energy efficiency.
The CLCPA is also notable in that it targets not just emissions from New York's electric generating sector, but also targets emission reductions from the New York economy as a whole, ranked as the third largest state-wide economy in the U.S. and 13th largest economy in the world. The legislation requires New York to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and net-zero1 carbon emissions by 2050. These targets will require massive emission reductions in the transportation, industrial and commercial sectors—all sectors new to the push toward decarbonization.
Rather than specifying the exact mechanisms by which economy-wide carbon emissions will be reduced, the legislation delegates the specifics to a 22-member Climate Action Council. The council will be composed of the heads of various New York state agencies, along with members appointed by the governor, the Senate, and the Assembly.
Lending to the Green New Deal origins of the legislation, the bill also contains certain environmental justice provisions which require that a third of all state investments in renewable energy be directed toward communities most vulnerable to climate change. While the final language of the legislation does not specify how these communities will be defined, these requirements will nevertheless direct considerable investment dollars to these favored communities.