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NY Seeks Continental Carbon Market, Promises 80% GHG Cut by 2050


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to reach out to California, Quebec, Ontario, and the eight states besides New York that make up New England’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to test the ground for a North American carbon market.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Cuomo made the announcement October 8 at the same time that he signed the Under 2 MOU, an effort that initially committed 12 jurisdictions representing $4.5 trillion in GDP to keep the climate change-induced increase in average global temperature below 2ºC.

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“The powerful collective of signatories to the MOU are demonstrating the urgency of action, and the importance of setting binding targets,” told an audience at New York’s Columbia University. Cuomo unveiled plans to install solar energy systems on 150,000 homes and businesses and add some form of renewable energy to all the State University of New York’s 64 campuses by 2020.

The state previously announced emission reduction targets of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. But unlike the California strategy, New York’s is not codified in law. “From our point of view, these goals are great, they’re ambitious, but we would also need to see a concrete plan as to how to get there,” said Conor Bambrick, air and energy director at Environmental Advocates of New York.

“An 80% by 2050 reduction means within the next three decades, our power systems, heating and cooling of buildings, and transport all have to be electrified by clean renewable energy,” he told Greentech. “Without a plan or mandate of future administrations written in the law,” he added, “we worry that the state may fall short.”