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Governor Cuomo announces initiatives upping New York’s commitment to fighting climate change

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He announced a major jobs and climate initiative today

Governor Cuomo has decided to step up New York’s commitment to addressing climate change in the wake of President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accord. For one, he’s joined a group of leaders across the country who plan to adopt the Paris climate accord whether Trump likes it or not. To that end, he signed an executive order “confirming New York's leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet,” per a statement from the governor.

“This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” Cuomo said. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions.”

(And here’s a video of the governor calling the president’s decision “a tremendous mistake … with a potentially devastating impact.”)

And today, Cuomo announced the Clean Climate Careers initiative, which the governor’s office calls “a multi-pronged strategy to grow New York's emerging clean energy economy and prepare the workforce for the long-term careers associated with this industry.” The initiative will move ahead with the partnership of the Worker Institute at Cornell University and Climate Jobs NY.

As part of the first phase, New York State will invest as much as $1.5 billion in major renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, and also significantly expand energy efficiency and solar installations at public buildings like schools.

The state also issued requests for proposals to build renewable energy projects that will generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year—enough to power around 350,000 homes. According to a press release, “the RFPs are the first in a series of major procurements and are expected to result in the development of 40 to 60 large scale renewable energy projects by 2022 under the Clean Energy Standard.”

To create jobs, the initiative will invest $15 million in educators and trainers that partner with the clean energy industry to offer training and apprenticeship opportunities. The Governor hopes these initiatives will help create 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure the state meets its Clean Energy Standards—with 50 percent of its electricity coming from renewables—by 2030.

Critics of Cuomo, who has been dealing with controversy over the ailing subway system, were quick to point out the initiative doesn’t grapple with improving the city’s public transit system. As Second Ave. Sagas tweeted: