Democratic-led states join forces to boost heat pump use

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Nine predominantly East Coast states signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday calling for heat pumps to comprise 65 percent of heating and air conditioning in residential buildings by the end of the decade.

In the memo, the air quality agencies of California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island, also called for heat pumps to make up 90 percent of heating and air conditioning systems sold by 2040.

The coalition, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, aims to track market data to develop a broader plan for electrification of residential buildings. Fossil fuel-based residential heating equipment in the Democratic-led states accounts for nearly 150,000 tons of air pollutants annually, including 138,000 tons of nitrous oxides and 6,000 tons of soot, as well as 173 million tons of carbon emissions.

“Buildings are the top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New York State and actions are well underway to significantly reduce the amount and impact of these emissions on the State level,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

“This new multi-state agreement and the strengthened partnership with participating states will bolster New York State’s ongoing efforts to replace fossil fuel infrastructure and install heat pumps in more homes for the benefit of public health and the environment while setting an example for other states to follow,” Seggos added.

Last September, the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 25 governors from both parties, committed to quadrupling heat pump installations by the end of the decadeThe alliance includes all nine states involved in Wednesday’s memo.

States have increasingly sought to take state-level or regional action on climate issues amid ongoing congressional gridlock.

California has introduced the single most aggressive tailpipe emissions standard in the nation, with several other states adopting it, and 11 East Coast states have joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional carbon-capping partnership. 

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