New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, together with former US Vice President Al Gore, has announced four major actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State.
The environmental and clean energy initiatives are designed to help New York homes, businesses and universities invest in clean energy, drive economic growth across the state, and protect the environment.
Governor Cuomo signed the Under 2 MOU, an agreement between states, provinces and cities worldwide to affirm their commitment to help keep the earth’s average temperature from increasing 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, as measured against pre-industrial levels. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined that global warming must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, such as significant sea level rise that would inundate nations and coastlines around the world, create prolonged pervasive and extreme weather, cause mega-droughts, and lead to food scarcity.
New York has already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions envisioned by the Under 2 MOU.
New York State will engage its partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and California, Quebec and Ontario to explore the possibility of linking the successful carbon markets. “Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions. New York State will also engage other states and provinces to build a broader carbon market and further drive an international discussion that encourages government action on carbon emissions,” according to a statement.
The Governor also announced a commitment to bring solar to 150,000 more homes and businesses by 2020. For the first time ever, commercial projects will be able to share the power they generate on their properties with surrounding community members through the Governor’s Shared Renewables program.
Cuomo also announced will State University of New York , the nation’s largest statewide public university system, will install renewable energy, including solar and other technologies, at each of its 64 campuses by 2020. This commitment builds on SUNY’s existing goals of improving its energy efficiency performance by 20 percent and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.
The Governor challenged private colleges and universities to join SUNY in their commitment. To support public and private schools investing in solar, the New York Power Authority will provide new tools and resources to evaluate, manage, and contract solar lease agreements with private sector partners.
“Climate change is an issue of society’s sustainability – and to deny that climate change is real is to deny reason,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today, New York is stepping up. We are demonstrating the leadership and focus that this issue demands. We are joining together and committing ourselves to tackling climate change and showing the nation what is possible. Now it is up to world leaders to follow suit.”
Former Vice President Al Gore has been a leading advocate in efforts to combat climate change and joined Governor Cuomo to announce these new actions.
“The leadership shown by Governor Cuomo and New York State to make bold emissions reductions commitments is vital to solving the climate crisis,” said Former Vice President Al Gore. “On the eve of the Paris climate negotiations, New York’s efforts to reduce emissions and join with others like California, Quebec, and Ontario to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy send a strong signal to world leaders: local, regional, and state governments are taking climate action now.”
In addition, New York State will invest in clean, renewable power across all of its public buildings and facilities, expanding upon its ambitious energy efficiency objectives.