Alongside climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore, Gov. Cuomo signed "the most aggressive climate law," in U.S. history.

"In a few minutes, I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America," Cuomo said to applause on Thursday at Fordham University.

Shortly after, Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, which according to his office, adopts the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country.

"The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face," Cuomo said. "They literally will determine the future - or the lack thereof. Even in today's chaos of political pandering and hyperbole there are still facts, data and evidence - and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. But cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them. With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America. Today we are true to the New York legacy - to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action."

The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon-free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy.

Highlights of the new law include:

  • Putting New York on Road to Economy-Wide Carbon Neutrality: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will, through the adoption of regulations, drive an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with an interim mandate of 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 (both relative to 1990 levels). The Climate Action Council will develop a plan to offset remaining emissions through carbon capture or other technologies, resulting in a carbon-neutral economy.
  • 70% Renewable Energy by 2030 and Zero-Carbon Emission Electric Sector by 2040: The CLCPA codifies Governor Cuomo's nation-leading goals as called for under his Green New Deal, mandating that at least 70% of New York's electricity come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030, and that the state's power system is 100% carbon neutral by 2040.
  • Nation-Leading Clean Energy Investments: The CLCPA also codifies Governor Cuomo's nation-leading commitments to install 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035; 6,000 megawatts of distributed solar by 2025; and 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.
  • Climate Action Council and Policy Roadmap: Expert heads of relevant state agencies and legislative appointees will craft the roadmap of policies needed to achieve the law's mandates. The Council, co-chaired by the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) and DEC will establish sector specific working groups to make sure experts and stakeholders inform all policies developed under the CLCPA. Planned working groups include a just transition working group, as well as working groups on transportation, agriculture, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries, land use and energy efficiency.
  • Landmark Investments in Environmental Justice and Just Transition: Relevant state agencies will invest 35% of clean energy program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities, and will aim to invest 40%. Additionally, the just transition working group will work to ensure that individuals working in conventional energy industries are provided with training and opportunities in the growing clean energy economy.

Cuomo also executed the what his office calls the nation's largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history - nearly 1,700 megawatts -with the selection of two offshore wind projects, that will create enough energy to power over 1 million homes, create more than 1,600 jobs, and result in $3.2 billion in economic activity.