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New York Is Poised to Pass Unprecedented Climate Legislation. Will Other States Follow?

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Haze covers the lower Manhattan skyline seen from Staten Island on May 17th, 2019, in New York City.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the state’s legislative leaders had come to an agreement on climate policy. The legislation, known as the Climate & Communities Protection Act, outlines clear goals for decarbonization, stipulating a 40 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050. The remaining 15 percent will be offset by projects such as afforestation, sustainable forest management, and other ecosystem restoration efforts. The plan was hammered out just days before the end of the legislative season.

Cuomo had previously disputed portions of the legislation. But the governor and lawmakers came to an agreement on Sunday, after negotiating certain contentious parts (like whether the state can offset or sequester fossil fuel emissions as opposed to eliminating and decarbonizing completely). Lawmakers were still working on amendments on Monday, but Cuomo said on the radio station WAMC’s The Roundtable that he believes the new legislation will pass this Wednesday.

If the new legislation passes, it will be one of the most significant state climate policies instituted since President Donald Trump, who has consistently pursued vast environmental rollbacks, took office in 2016.

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