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New York Should Take Carbon-Free Path To COVID-19 Recovery


Leading environmental, clean energy, and labor groups call on NY Forward Advisory Board to consider NYISO’s carbon pricing plan as part of reopening and economic recovery plans

Full Letter Can Be Found Here:

NEW YORK, May 27, 2020—As New York begins reopening the economy with input from the New York Forward Advisory Board, CarbonFreeNY––a coalition of prominent environmental, clean energy and labor groups––is calling on the board and Governor Cuomo to support the implementation of the carbon pricing plan proposed by the New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO) as part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. 

In a letter addressed to board co-chairs Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow, the coalition cites the clear “link between the COVID pandemic and the climate change crisis” and urges the advisory board to support NYISO’s carbon pricing plan as “an essential tool to restart the economy and build it back cleaner and stronger than ever.” The coalition believes implementation of NYISO’s carbon pricing plan would give New York a powerful tool to kickstart its economic recovery efforts, while simultaneously advancing climate related public health interests and helping achieve the ambitious clean energy goals mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). 

Acknowledging the high volume of recently unemployed workers, the letter states that “the NYISO proposal will support investments in green jobs and accelerate the build-out of renewable energy infrastructure, putting thousands back to work while safeguarding the health of our environment. At a time when the state has limited resources, carbon pricing offers a consistent mechanism to incentivize carbon-free energy production and clean energy job creation and business growth.”

The two dozen organizations that signed the letter believe the link between air pollution-induced respiratory issues and COVID-19 vulnerability is evidence of “just how important reducing pollution and improving air quality are to public health”, which can be aided by incorporating the social cost of carbon within New York’s electricity markets via NYISO’s carbon pricing plan. 

Gary Toth, Upstate Energy Jobs:
"NYISO's carbon-pricing initiative will align New York State's electricity markets with its aggressive renewable and environmental goals, while simultaneously boosting job creation and quality employment opportunities post-COVID-19. Pricing the social cost of carbon in New York’s electricity markets will reduce greenhouse gases, create incentives for additional transmission infrastructure, provide safe and reliable electrical power and protect New York State jobs!"

Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York: 
“We sincerely appreciate all that New York State has done, and continues to do, to combat COVID-19 and strive to keep New Yorkers healthy. For economic health, support for the clean energy industry, which previously employed more than 157,000 New Yorkers, is a good bet. Carbon pricing at the NYISO is an innovative and forward-looking tool to help NY’s clean energy industry continue to grow.”

Lynn Meyer, NY State Co-Coordinator of Citizens’ Climate Lobby: 
“CCL has been advocating for a national carbon price for ten years. The NYISO carbon adder would be a great step toward meeting New York’s clean energy goals and advancing our economic recovery efforts in the aftermath of COVID19. Study after study has shown that carbon pricing reduces greenhouse gas emissions more efficiently than any other single action, and this a valuable tool the state should adopt as we work to rebuild our economy in an environmentally friendly way.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters:
"Although air pollution, including carbon emissions, has momentarily dropped during COVID social distancing, we know these climate gains will only be temporary. We need a long-term strategy to slash pollution and emissions. Implementing NYISO's carbon pricing tool will help advance New York’s ambitious climate goals and economic goals at the same time.  As members of the Carbon Free New York coalition, we urge the NY Forward Advisory Board to include the NYISO carbon pricing plan in its COVID recovery plan to accelerate the development of clean energy."

Miguel Prado, CEO of EDP Renewables North America:
“New York has a long road ahead to health and economic recovery after this pandemic. But by incorporating the social cost of carbon into its energy market, New York has a powerful tool to aid its recovery efforts. Carbon pricing can help drive renewable energy investment forward, meet the state’s climate goals, and safeguard the health of our communities and environment.”

About Carbon Free New York

Led by a diverse network of environmental groups, energy providers, labor unions and clean energy advocates, CFNY’s mission is to encourage all appropriate stakeholders to work together to implement the NYISO carbon pricing proposal that will help New York achieve its clean energy policy goals and be the nation’s clean energy leader through the decarbonization of our electricity sector with a market-based model. We believe that by implementing the NYISO carbon pricing proposal in a timely and efficient manner and incorporating the cost of carbon into the electricity sector, New York can align its wholesale electricity markets with its clean energy policy objectives to decarbonize the electricity sector as set forth in the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act (CLCPA).