This week former Vice President Al Gore joined with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to sign the Under 2 MOU, a directive aimed at keeping climate change to a 2 degree Celsius rise in temperatures. The global directive is just one of four steps the governor took on Oct. 8 to limit carbon and pollution emissions in the state while encouraging more solar power development in the Empire state.
"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."Cuomo and Gore share the stage at carbon emissions reduction signing. Courtesy Cuomo's office. In signing Under 2 MOU Cuomo joins California and Baden-Württemberg as well as 43 jurisdictions from 19 countries across five continents. Under the memorandum signatories agree to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to between 80 percent and 95 percent below their 1990 levels by 2050. The campaign is running until the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. With its population density and efforts already underway New York is an important state to have in the program.
"The leadership shown by Governor Cuomo and New York State to make bold emissions reductions commitments is vital to solving the climate crisis," Gore said. "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."
One of the more important things New York is doing is setting low emissions targets. In its 2015 State Energy Plan, is targeting a reduction in emissions of 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 (80 by 50). Among other steps the state and its neighbors are taking is developing a carbon market and implementing a regional greenhouse gas cap and trade program. "To maximize the impact of proven strategies, New York State will engage its partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California, Quebec and Ontario to explore the possibility of linking the successful carbon markets," the state said. "Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions."
Cuomo also announced a plan to bring solar panels to 150,000 more homes and businesses by 2020. Under the Governor's Shared Renewables program power generated by commercial entities can be sold to community members. It's a first for the state if not the nation.
"New York is once again serving as a national role model, turning bold ideas into action as Governor Cuomo takes the lead on efforts to address climate change," said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York State, said. Under these commitments made today and as part of the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision plan, New York is on a firm path to reach our clean energy and environment goals by building a clean, resilient and affordable energy system."