MTA Joins Ambitious U.N. Climate Agreement to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Aligned with Paris Climate Goals

MTA Joins Ambitious U.N. Climate Agreement
MTA Joins Ambitious U.N. Climate Agreement

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)has joined the United Nations-sponsored Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Through the SBTi, a joint-partnership between U.N. Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and CDP, the MTA will develop a defined set of emissions reduction targets using the most up-to-date climate science to help keep the global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius. The MTA is only the second government agency in the United States to commit to a science based target to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

As the nation’s largest public transportation provider, the MTA offsets effects of global warming and climate change by keeping New Yorkers’ carbon emissions to the lowest per-capita in the country. The MTA will continue these efforts by setting defined targets to reduce greenhouse emissions across transportation and non-transportation activities throughout the organization. The MTA will have two years to establish targets for emissions reductions, and up to fifteen years to meet these targets. The targets will set the emissions threshold around which the MTA will develop its emissions reduction pathway.

“At a time when the U.S. has begun proceedings to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the MTA as the nation’s largest transportation system continues to lead in the fight against climate change. By joining the Science Based Targets initiative we are advancing the goals of the ambitious Paris Climate Accord,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO. “Our pledge to establish a defined set of targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions further confirms our commitment and dedication to being an energy efficient organization.”

The MTA’s science based target will be set in both absolute and intensity reductions. Potential absolute reduction pathways include bus electrification, the electrification of diesel-powered commuter rail lines, increased energy efficiency at facilities, and working with our vendors to reduce emissions throughout our supply chain. Emissions per-passenger-mile can be reduced by looking into increasing capacity across its public transportation modes. As a large electricity consumer, the MTA’s carbon footprint also stands to benefit from the increasing share of renewable energy incorporated into New York State’s energy portfolio.

The MTA is already setting the bar to reduce its energy consumption. Through Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmartNY clean energy initiative, the MTA will complete more than 75 energy efficiency projects with New York Power Authority by the end of 2020, making the MTA a leader in energy efficiency across every New York State agency and arguably a trendsetter in clean energy projects on a national scale.

Furthermore, the MTA plans to achieve a significant emissions reduction by converting the diesel bus fleet to electric, with the current plan calling for the MTA to have all electric buses by 2040. This process is well under way, highlighted by the inclusion of 500 electric buses in the next capital plan.

Under the Science Based Targets initiative, the MTA will establish a defined set of goals using science based practices and methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the entire organization, with the aim of bringing the agency in line with the mandate set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement’s aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.