States on Track to Meet Targets of Paris Climate Agreement

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Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 6:39 pm | Updated: 3:25 pm, Wed Sep 27, 2017.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a growing coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement. The announcement was made after the release of an independent report showing that U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24-29 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, fulfilling their contribution to the Paris Agreement targets.

The co-chairs of the U.S. Climate Alliance, Governor Cuomo, Governor Jerry Brown of California, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, along with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, spoke at a news conference in New York as part of Climate Week where they highlighted how states are stepping in to fill the void of climate action left by the federal government. The governors also announced North Carolina as the newest member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, bringing total membership to 15, representing 36 percent of the U.S. population and $7.6 trillion in GDP, 41 percent of America's total and enough to be the world's third largest economy.

"While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change, governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action," said Governor Cuomo. "Today, New York State is picking up the mantle of leadership and raising the bar in the global fight against climate change. As a co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, we are committed to upholding our share of the Paris Agreement, driving the clean energy economy, and ensuring a greener future for our children and for all Americans."

"Governors Cuomo, Brown, and Inslee and other governors who are a part of the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance know the stakes in the climate fight," said former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. "They are leading on climate where the federal government is failing to do so, joining partners in business and local government to ensure the U.S. is making progress every day. Today we are reaffirming to the American people and to the leaders from all over the world that the United States will not abandon the global community and put its children and grandchildren at risk."

To accelerate progress and drive more critical climate-related investment, Governor Cuomo also announced an ambitious expansion of NY Green Bank. Building on the success of its $400 million in commitments across 21 projects and robust pipeline of deals, NY Green Bank is committing to work with the private sector to raise new funds, assist other states in the establishment of new Green Bank offices, and provide capacity to those new Green Banks for back-end services including due diligence, underwriting and general technical support.

The expansion will also allow NY Green Bank to better leverage public dollars and grow its own project development scope to clean energy projects in other states across the country. NY Green Bank is part of the State's 10-year $5 billion Clean Energy Fund, which supports clean tech innovation and mobilizes private investment in clean energy in New York State. The Clean Energy Fund has already experienced successes beyond NY Green Bank, including its NY-Sun initiative that has helped facilitate more than 800 percent growth in solar deployment over five years.

The bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance was launched in June in response to President Trump's announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. This announcement marks the first time the U.S. Climate Alliance has quantified its emissions reductions. The main findings of the report include:

  • U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to reach a 24-29 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, fulfilling their contribution to the Paris Agreement targets.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, Alliance states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent compared to a 10 percent reduction by the rest of the country.
  • During that same decade, the combined economic output of Alliance states grew by 14 percent while the rest of the country grew by 12 percent. On a per capita basis, economic output in Alliance states expanded twice as fast as in the rest of the country, showing that climate action and economic growth go hand in hand.
  • The report outlines areas where USCA states will focus collective efforts, including to expand clean energy finance tools, modernize the power sector, design energy efficient buildings, develop a green transportation system, build climate resilient infrastructure, and protect natural resources.

The U.S. Climate Alliance's progress report comes two months before world leaders convene in Germany for COP23, where countries will further detail their plans to meet the Paris Agreement. Countries from around the world have reaffirmed their commitment to continue reducing emissions, despite President Trump's withdrawal from the climate agreement. U.S. Climate Alliance governors plan to attend COP23 this fall to report on their climate progress and detail further plans and additional solutions to pool resources and confront the global threat of climate change.

The U.S. Climate Alliance builds on other recent advancements, such as the commitment by nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next two decades through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

SOURCE: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

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