New York Pledges to Become Carbon Free by 2040 in Statewide Green New Deal

January 17, 2019, 7:11 PM UTC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a Green New Deal Thursday that pledges all of the state’s energy will be 100 percent carbon free by 2040.

“While the federal government shamefully ignores the reality of climate change and fails to take meaningful action, we are launching the first-in-the-nation Green New Deal to seize the potential of the clean energy economy, set nation’s most ambitious goal for carbon-free power, and ultimately eliminate our entire carbon footprint,” said Cuomo in a statement.

New York’s Green New Deal—outlined in the governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda—increases previous green energy goals to more ambitious levels, including quadrupling the state’s offshore wind target by 2035 and doubling distributed solar deployment by 2025.

“This landmark initiative will further drive the growth of New York’s clean energy economy, create tens of thousands of high-quality 21st century jobs, provide all New Yorkers with cleaner air and water by reducing harmful emissions, and set an example of climate leadership for the rest of the nation and world to follow,” reads the Justice Agenda.

The deal also includes $1.5 billion in competitive awards for 20 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects in upstate New York. According to the Justice Agenda, these projects will establish over 2,600 short- and long-term jobs and will create enough power to light 550,000 homes. Several are expected to break ground by August of this year, with all projects operational by 2022.

To organize the state’s transition to carbon neutrality, a Climate Action Council comprised of state agency heads, workforce representatives, and environmental justice and clean energy experts will develop a plan for regulations and programming.

“Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal will advance New York State further into the clean energy future, and we won’t let the Trump Administration push us backwards,” said Richard Kauffman, New York’s chairman of energy and finance, in a statement.

President Donald Trump has avoided making climate change a top agenda item for his administration, going as far as pulling the U.S. out of the landmark Paris Agreement that set global standards for battling rising world temperatures during his first year in office.

While the White House moves away from climate issues, progressive Democrats have pushed for a national Green New Deal that aims for a carbon-neutral U.S. economy.

States have also taken matters into their own hands: California committed to becoming carbon free by 2045 in September of last year.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that New York and California are pledging to make their energy carbon neutral. Both states are pledging to make their energy carbon free.