New York Vows to Eliminate Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

Maple Ridge Wind Farm, New York.Martin Klingensmith/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia

New York’s lawmakers agreed to enact a proposal to banish the state’s greenhouse emissions in the next three decades.

New York’s legislature vowed to banish net greenhouse emissions by 2050, after a number of Democratic presidential candidates proposed ambitious net-zero targets for the country, according to The New York Times.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, supported by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, would require the state to decrease pollution by 85 percent, and tackle the remaining 15 percent by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The plan, if implemented, would be the most ambitious climate target enacted by a legislature to date, according to the Times. “This unquestionably puts New York in a global leadership position,” said Jesse Jenkins, an energy expert and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

The bill would also require New York to derive 70 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, and 100 percent of its energy needs from carbon-free sources by 2040.

New York obtains 60 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources, including hydroelectric dams, and nuclear power plants. Hitting the target would require wind turbines as well as rooftop solar panels. Eliminating emissions from transportation (one-third of the current total) may prove an even more formidable challenge, writes to the Times.

According to the most recent state inventory, the jurisdiction reduced emissions by 8 percent between 1990 and 2015.

The proposal has been criticized by some sectors of the energy, real estate, and business communities, which say the bill is impractical and potentially disastrous for companies.

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