Press Release State Budget

CBC Calls on NYS to Use Flexible, Market-Driven Strategies to Meet its Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Goals

December 09, 2019

CBC Report Finds Massive Needed Scale Up of Renewable Generation Capacity
Infeasible in Time to Meet 2030 Goal;

Multi-pronged Approach Leveraging Other Cost-Effective Options Key To Meet Targets

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) today released “Getting Greener – Cost-Effective Options for Achieving New York State’s Greenhouse Gas Goals.” The report recommends a flexible and multi-pronged approach to continue to lead the nation in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.

New York is already a national green leader, and the Climate Leadership Committee and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) established some of the nation’s most ambitious goals to reduce GHG emissions. However, the CLCPA’s overreliance on a single approach makes it vulnerable to missing its targets. The CLCPA relies on a massive scaling up of renewable resources, primarily offshore wind. The projects underway are not sufficient to meet CLCPA renewable goals, and they face regulatory and political obstacles that make them unlikely to be completed by 2030. In order to meet the State’s long-term electrification goals for 2050, the state would need to more than double renewable generation capacity.

Furthermore, inadequate focus on reducing growing emissions in the transportation sector and the State’s counterproductive policies on hydropower, nuclear power, and natural gas also constrain the ability to achieve the urgently needed greenhouse gas reductions.

“Prescriptive, choice-limiting strategies will hamper New York’s ability to meet its emission reduction goals,” said Andrew Rein, President of the Citizens Budget Commission. “Rational, market-based solutions can provide the flexibility needed to achieve meaningful greenhouse gas reductions and adapt as technology evolves. By putting all options on the table, New York can become greener at the lowest possible cost.”

“Expanding renewable generation is necessary to meet state goals, but getting greener requires approaches that go beyond the electric sector,” said Maria Doulis, Vice President of the Citizens Budget Commission. “New York already has an effective regional cap-and-trade system that can be expanded to other sectors. Greater focus on solutions for relatively ‘dirty’ sectors like transportation will get the state more green, more quickly.” 

To reduce emissions most efficiently and effectively, New York should:

  • Establish an economy-wide pricing system—either a cap-and-trade system or a carbon fee—so consumers have incentives to choose the most cost-effective green solutions;
  • Pursue purchase of low-cost, low-emission energy supplies from outside the state;
  • Retain the use of nuclear energy to continue to obtain the benefits of carbon avoidance;
  • Avoid self-imposed constraints, such as limiting gas pipeline capacity, that stop the substitution of lower emission sources for higher emission sources;
  • Promote public transportation and other broad transportation solutions that build on existing infrastructure; and
  • Establish a prioritization system to pursue renewables that provide the greatest GHG reductions at the lowest cost.

“Getting Greener – Cost-Effective Options for Achieving New York State’s Greenhouse Gas Goals” will be available on on Monday, December 9, 2019.