Sierra Club Calls for Transportation Emissions Target in N.Y.

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The Sierra Club has released a report calling for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., to set a statewide target to reduce on-road transportation emissions 55% by 2035 in order to meet New York’s long-term climate goals.

This target is endorsed by statewide coalition Electrify NY. The report, produced by Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of the Sierra Club, lays out two potential policy pathways to reach the 55% by 2035 target: one focusing on policies that promote vehicle electrification and one that relies on both vehicle electrification and reducing vehicle miles traveled, or mode shifting.

“Despite releasing the nation’s most ambitious climate legislation this summer, Governor Cuomo has yet to commit to any target for reducing emissions from the transportation sector, which is critical in addressing New York’s climate-disrupting pollution,” comments Allison Considine, New York campaign representative with the Sierra Club. “The report shows that New York could pull a variety of policy levers to reduce transportation emissions by 55 percent by 2035 – from making electric vehicles more affordable to improving and expanding public transit – but we need to start pulling them now to mitigate the worst impacts of climate and protect the health of all New Yorkers.”

The Sierra Club offers several findings from the report:

  • New York is not on track to achieve the needed reductions in the transportation sector to meet Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) commitments.
  • Reducing on-road transportation emissions by 55% by 2035 will put the state on track to meet its CLCPA goals. This can be achieved with known and available policies.
  • Implementing policies to meet this goal will result in huge public health, environmental and economic benefits to New York.
  • Acting quickly is essential, given slow vehicle fleet turnover (i.e., the long lifespan of vehicles).
  • Clean transportation policies must prioritize equity (i.e., in communities that have been disproportionately affected by pollution).

“The Sierra Club’s new report shows New York has the potential to realize our ambitious climate goals – but only if we make real commitments now,” notes Lauren Bailey, director of climate policy for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “If we’re going to meet these climate benchmarks, our transition to electric vehicles will need to be quick and comprehensive, and we will need to focus on policies and programs that improve environmental quality for communities that are most burdened by vehicle emissions.”

The full report can be read here.

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