Council finalizes plan to advance climate law
NEW YORK STATE--New York State's Climate Action Council Co-Chairs, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and CEO Doreen M. Harris, announced the approval and adoption of the New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan. The initiative outlines recommended policies and actions to help meet the goals and requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. After a 19-3 vote by the council during a meeting on Monday, Dec. 19, the scoping plan is available to the public and will be submitted to the governor and the state legislature by Jan. 1, 2023.
The council approved the scoping plan following the release of the draft scoping plan on Dec. 30, 2021, and a public comment period that included 11 public hearings across the state and more than 35,000 written comments.
The council's seven advisory panels, along with the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) and Just Transition Working Group (JTWG), also submitted recommendations for consideration in the development of the scoping plan. As required under the climate act, the council will update the plan every five years.
The scoping plan's recommendations will provide the foundation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive critical building and transportation electrification, secure climate justice, and advance the state's commitment to economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan outlines actions needed for New York to achieve 70 percent renewable energy by 2030; 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2040; a 40-percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, an 85-percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050; and net-zero emissions statewide by 2050. It also identifies a variety of regulatory and legal changes, market mechanisms, and technologies to achieve these directives.
Summaries of sector-specific recommendations include:
Transportation: Transition nearly all vehicles in New York state to zero-emission technology by 2050, with New Yorkers having substantially greater access to low-carbon modes of transportation, including public transportation.
• Transition to zero-emission vehicles and equipment;
• Enhance public transportation and mobility alternatives;
• Promote smart growth and mobility-oriented development; and
• Facilitate market-based solutions and financing.
Buildings: By 2050, 85 percent of homes and commercial building space statewide should be electrified with energy-efficient heat pumps and thermal energy networks.
• Adopt zero-emission codes and standards and require energy benchmarking for buildings;
• Scale up public financial incentives and expand access to public and private low-cost financing for building decarbonization;
• Expand New York's commitment to market development, innovation, and leading by example in state projects; and
• Transition from hydrofluorocarbons.
Electricity: Scale up clean energy resources, such as land-based wind and solar, offshore wind, hydropower, fuel cells that use renewable fuels, and energy storage.
• Incorporate load flexibility and controllability into the electric grid as sectors electrify to create a more manageable system;
• Update and build new transmission and distribution systems statewide;
• Enhance the electric grid to improve efficiency and delivery of electricity and facilitate the integration of renewable energy and prioritize clean resources; and
• Evaluate emerging technologies and identify and develop solutions for zero-emission dispatchable technologies to meet demand and maintain reliability.
Industry: Pursue incentive-based strategies for attracting and retaining businesses in New York state and mitigate direct greenhouse gas emissions attributable to certain industrial activities, like manufacturing.
Agriculture and Forestry: Mitigate agricultural greenhouse gas emissions through manure management practices and precision animal feeding.
Waste: Implement waste reduction, reuse, and recycling strategies to fundamentally shift the way businesses and New Yorkers currently produce, use, and handle products and materials at end-of-life. Minimize emissions at solid waste management facilities and water resource recovery facilities and evaluate beneficial use of methane captured from waste management activities.
Land Use: Reduce carbon emissions through strategic land conservation and smart growth development.
Local Government: Continue to engage, build partnerships, and collaborate with local governments as the state moves toward a more energy efficient future. Create a dashboard to promote local climate action planning, monitor equity considerations, measure progress, and ensure data consistency at the county and municipal levels. Develop model energy conservation building codes and construction policies to encourage local policy decisions that accelerate energy efficiency with a focus on equity.
Adaptation and Resilience: Move forward with actions to adapt to climate change and enhance resilience in communities, infrastructure, and living systems. Expand state support for regional and local planning, assist municipalities and local communities in their efforts to incorporate future conditions into local planning and regulatory decisions, and address risks due to flooding and extreme heat. Enhance resilience of living systems by addressing risks to ecosystems and biodiversity.
Gas System Transition: Strategic downsizing and decarbonization of the gas system in close coordination with the increase of renewable energy generation and build-out of the electric system to ensure reliability and address energy affordability. Convert the vast majority of gas customers to all-electric by 2050, and during the gas system transition, manage repair of leak-prone gas pipelines to ensure safety of the gas system and reduce methane emissions.
The plan also recommends implementation of an economywide cap-and-invest program that would ensure the climate act's emission limits are met, while prioritizing reduction of co-pollutants in disadvantaged communities and supporting clean technology market development.
For more information on the climate action council's scoping plan, visit climate.ny.gov.