New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that American Electric Power (AEP), one of the largest carbon emitters in the country, has adopted new, long-term targets for lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals. As a result, the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (Fund) has withdrawn the shareholder request it had filed with the company.”The utilities sector should pay close attention to AEP’s commitment to decarbonize its operations,” DiNapoli said. “Reducing emissions and mitigating climate risk are vital to the company’s own survival. Despite President Trump’s plan to rescind the Clean Power Plan, corporations know a transition to a lower carbon economy is not just inevitable, it’s already underway. We will continue to monitor and engage with AEP as it moves to cleaner operations.
“The Fund’s shareholder resolution called on the company to adopt and report on targets for the long-term reduction of its GHG emissions, taking into consideration the global GHG reduction needs defined by the Paris Climate Agreement. While AEP previously described its practices and plans to add renewable energy, energy efficiency, and grid modernization initiatives, those emissions reduction targets only extended to 2020 and did not show how or whether its long-term emissions were aligned with the 2°C goal. Among the new steps the company has said it will take is investment in renewable resources and advanced technologies to make its power grid more efficient and decentralized.