While the Oregon Republicans’ antics in response to meaningful climate action stole last week’s carbon policy news show, New York sailed one of the world’s most ambitious climate plans through its state legislature.
Known as the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the bill will reduce New York’s emissions to 85% below 1990 levels and use offsets for the remaining 15% of emissions by 2050. After passing in both the state’s Assembly and Senate, the bill will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signature, which he is expected to sign shortly.
While not necessarily creating a cap-and-trade system that mirrors California’s, the bill provides for the use of offsets. Some of the particulars include the creation of a public registry of offset projects, restrictions that projects “be located in the same county, and within twenty-five linear miles of the source of emissions, to the extent practicable,” and inclusion of a variety of land-based projects such as the restoration and sustainable management of natural and urban forests, grasslands, coastal wetlands and sub-tidal habitats.
In addition to offset provisions, the bill is noted for its focus on disadvantaged communities by requiring a process to ensure a minimum of 35% of clean energy and energy efficiency funds are returned low-income areas, which could result in hundreds of millions of dollars of public investments and bolster job opportunities.
Ambitious emissions reductions, the flexibility to use offsets and attention to the needs of low-income communities makes for sensible climate policy. It is also refreshing to see climate legislation passing without political histrionics.