New York Advances Ambitious Climate Proposal, But Must Address Transportation

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 16, 2019

WASHINGTON (January 16, 2019)—In his State of the State Address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious set of proposals to cut emissions and reduce the risk of climate change. These proposals included a range of concrete, serious proposals to cut emissions and build a clean-energy economy. However, the package should include a commitment to cut emissions from transportation—a vital part of any climate solution, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, UCS president and a former Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who serves on the Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth.

“The need for far-reaching proposals to fight climate change has never been clearer or more urgent. State leaders need to step up and show that they’re pursuing serious cuts in emissions, to put us on a safer path.

“Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address offers real solutions that can address climate pollution and move the state forward—including a commitment to 100 percent clean power generation by 2040, specific direction to build new wind power, clean-tech workforce development, and investments in green infrastructure that will support New York’s economy. It’s an impressive, far-sighted set of proposals—this is the kind of vision we need to fight climate change.  And it’s especially important given the lack of leadership at the federal level.

“However, we can’t reach these goals unless we’re tackling transportation, the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S.

“States in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are working together on a regional plan to build a clean, modern transportation system, and these efforts would be strengthened with New York’s participation. For many years, New York has played an integral role in these efforts, but Governor Cuomo has yet to join in the coalition of nine states and the District of Columbia to put transportation on a cleaner path. As the region’s largest state, New York needs to be part of the solution and help shape a clean transportation program.

“As Governor Cuomo and New York leaders get to work on these vital and ambitious climate proposals, we call on them to exert leadership by formally joining neighboring states to take on the challenge of transportation emissions. We need to use every tool at our disposal to fight climate change.”