The New York Senate has been praised by the renewable energy sector for passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CCPA) on 19 June 2019.

The CCPA is described by the Senate as “the most comprehensive and aggressive climate change legislation in the nation”, aiming to address and mitigate the effects of climate change by creating green jobs across New York, diverting the state’s energy to renewable sources and cutting its use of greenhouse gases.

The act has also set carbon emissions targets, aiming to reduce emissions by 40% from 1990 by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

With this act New York becomes the second US state to aim for a carbon-neutral economy, following a bill passed in California in September 2018 that committed the state to exclusively sourcing energy from renewable sources by 2045.

The passing of the CCPA follows a series of hearings led by Environmental Conservation Committee chair Todd Kaminsky throughout the state. These hearings allowed environmental stakeholders and citizens to provide testimony on the impact of climate change on their communities, as well as recommendations for the state moving forward.

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By GlobalData

Kaminsky told the Huffington Post: “New York has a larger economy than some countries, so we can have a big impact, not only reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but showing other states the way forward.”

“It’s the beginning of a Herculean effort to transform the economy.”

Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said: “Today marks a historic day for New York State in the fight against climate change.

“As our leaders in Washington fail to take action, New York needs to lead in this time of great crises for our planet. I commend Senator Todd Kaminsky for championing this bill and protecting New York’s future generations.”

The CCPA has been welcomed by a number of renewable energy companies and associations.

Vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Sean Gallagher said: “SEIA commends Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for codifying the goal of obtaining 6 gigawatts of solar energy by 2025.

“This legislation mandates enough local solar to power one million households by 2025. This legislation also establishes one of the most aggressive clean energy mandates in the country by requiring that more than 70 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable resources such as solar by 2030.

“These new targets and other provisions in the bill will attract significant solar investment to the Empire State and create thousands of good jobs.”

However concerns have been raised about the act, including last-minute amendments that cut labour provisions.

Campaign strategist Adrien Salazar told Grist: “Sometimes as happens in these battles under cover of night, things get slipped in through the cracks that are not what we had wanted to see. The equity components are the pieces that appear to have been weakened the most. We’re very concerned about that.”

Senior organiser at government watchdog group Food & Water Watch Eric Weltman said: “This legislation would move New York in the right direction, but much too slowly. The climate crisis demands that New York do more and faster to move off fossil fuels.”