Climate Action Council Marks Critical Milestone to Advance New York’s Nation-leading Climate Law
Advisory Panels Submit Recommendations to Council for Consideration in Scoping Plan to Achieve Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Economy-wide
May 10, 2021
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 Harris, today announced the Climate Action Council has reached a critical milestone in the State’s work to achieve the goals of New York’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). The Climate Action Council’s seven advisory panels, Transportation, Agriculture and Forestry, Land Use and Local Government, Power Generation, Energy Efficiency and Housing, Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed Industries, and Waste have – along with the Just Transition Working Group – submitted their recommendations for the Climate Action Council to consider in the development of the draft Scoping Plan that will help guide achievement of the Climate Act’s goals to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ramp up renewable energy development, and put the State on the path to carbon neutrality economy-wide by 2050.
Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Climate Action Council started its critical work, bringing together experts from key sectors of the economy to put forth their best recommendations to help develop the Scoping Plan to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions and meet the State’s ambitious clean energy targets. Today marks a key milestone in our work putting New York on a path toward carbon neutrality while ensuring environmental justice for all of our State’s communities.”
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said, “Despite the challenges faced over the last year during a global pandemic, the work of the Climate Action Council and its Advisory Panels and Working Groups did not stop – reflecting the sincere commitment of the many members asked to help develop the plan to guide New York’s transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit all New Yorkers. This milestone further demonstrates that New York’s commitment to a focused and orderly transition to a carbon-neutral economy is on track, and I look forward to continuing this dedicated work together as we move closer to achieving our nation-leading clean energy goals.”
The Climate Action Council is progressing according to the schedule included in the Climate Act and will now review the recommendations submitted by the seven advisory panels and the Just Transition Working Group to develop a draft Scoping Plan that will be released for public comment and the subject of six public hearings in 2022. The recommendations from the advisory panels, comprised of experts from across the State, will now be advanced into an integration analysis process, which will provide a cost-benefit assessment of the suite of strategies under consideration, accounting for the emissions reductions, jobs impacts, and health impacts of attaining the goals identified in the Climate Act. As required under the Climate Act, the final Scoping Plan will be posted online and delivered to the Governor and the Legislature in 2023, and DEC will release regulations to realize the emissions reductions from the plan’s strategies in 2024.
Over the past 15 months, the Climate Action Council has met 10 times and the seven advisory panels have met a total of 78 times. The Just Transition Working Group has met 10 times to begin work on a jobs report and to identify workforce training needs, address business impacts, and identify issues and opportunities presented by power plant site reuse. In parallel, the Climate Justice Working Group, which has also met 10 times over the past year, is developing a definition of disadvantaged communities to be proposed this summer for a 120-day public comment period with six public hearings. Reinforcing New York’s commitment to a transparent public process, these meetings have been open to the public and have been conducted with robust public engagement.
In addition to the critical work of the Climate Action Council, State agencies are already meeting other requirements of the Climate Act, including:
- Advancing New York’s ambitious actions to address climate change in 2020, DEC and NYSERDA released the Value of Carbon guidance, and supplemental documents, to help State agencies estimate the value of reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in decision-making.
- Finalizing regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide as the first regulatory requirement of the Climate Act, including establishing limits on the statewide emissions of greenhouse gases 40 percent by 2030, and 85 percent by 2050, including emissions associated with imported electricity and fossil fuels.
- Adopting new regulations to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by advancing New York's portion of the 30 percent regional cap reduction from 2021 to 2030 to ensure that regional emissions are 65 percent below the starting cap level by 2030 and aligning New York's cap with the other participating RGGI states. Additionally, it is estimated that 39 percent of post-2019 RGGI commitments will provide benefits to disadvantaged communities, an increase from an earlier estimate of 23 percent of pre-2020 RGGI commitments.
- Finalizing regulations to significantly reduce potent hydrofluorocarbon substances (HFCs), in 2020, and April 2021, proposing new DEC regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector – potentially lowering methane emissions by more than 14,000 tons per year, the equivalent of removing 200,000 cars a year from the road, and reducing volatile organic compound emissions by over 2,000 tons per year.
- Expanding the State‘s landmark Clean Energy Standard to refocus New York's existing regulatory and procurement structure on achieving the goals laid out in the Climate Act and increase the use of renewable energy in the State from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2030 and of offshore wind from 2,400 MW by 2030 to 9,000 MW by 2035.
Progress to Our Goals
New York State is rapidly advancing its critical work to achieve the Climate Act goals and has taken significant steps to ensure the State is advancing initiatives that deliver a minimum of 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of benefits to disadvantaged communities. DEC rulemakings to implement the Scoping Plan will ensure no increase in co-pollutant emissions or disproportionate burden on disadvantaged communities and prioritize measures to reduce emissions in disadvantaged communities.
Under the State’s Clean Energy Standard, New York's robust pipeline of large-scale renewable energy, comprised of nearly 100 solar, land-based wind and offshore wind projects, will add nearly 11,000 megawatts of clean power to the grid when completed - enough to power over five million New York homes. Together, these projects are expected to directly create more than 50,000 jobs and spur $29 billion in private investment across the State.
The State's commitment to building out new green energy transmission, led by 250 miles of new major upgrades already underway throughout the State, with other future green transmission projects planned, will allow the current pipeline of renewables alone to power over 50 percent of New York's electricity from renewable sources once operational, helping to eliminate over 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
In addition to renewable energy, New York is focused on driving down energy demand by investing more than $6.8 billion in building energy efficiency and clean heating initiatives through 2025. As a result of the Public Service Commission’s “New Efficiency: New York 2.0” order, $2 billion in utility energy efficiency and building electrification initiatives are underway. These programs will reduce 3 million metric tons of carbon pollution, the equivalent of removing 600,000 cars from the road.
Additionally, the New York State Clean Heat Program is providing nearly $700 million in building electrification solutions, including a variety of heat pump technologies. NYSERDA has earmarked over $230 million of these funds for workforce training, low-to-moderate income heat pump initiatives, performance improvements and testing, supporting the heat pump supply chain, community engagement, and developing a buildings electrification roadmap to help guide the transformation of how New Yorkers heat and cool buildings.
Working collaboratively, NYSERDA and investor-owned utilities are also providing $880 million to increase access to energy efficiency and clean energy solutions for low-to-moderate income households and affordable multi-family buildings – benefiting more than 350,000 low-to-moderate income households statewide. Similarly, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has overseen $2 billion in energy efficiency projects with government partners since 2011, saving the State $138 million annually and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 331 thousand metric tons.
To support the growing demand in this sector, Governor Cuomo’s Workforce Development Initiative is supporting career pathway training programs that provide education, training and wrap around services to help place new workers into specific clean energy occupations like high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), building electrification and energy efficiency. NYSERDA has committed more than $108 million to support existing workforce development and training initiatives, which will help train and prepare over 40,000 New Yorkers for growing clean energy job opportunities and assist clean energy businesses in recruiting, hiring, and training workers. More importantly, these efforts prioritize training programs for the State’s most underserved populations – low-income individuals, veterans, Native Americans, disabled workers, single parents, the homeless, and the formerly incarcerated – and will also help integrate displaced workers into the clean energy industry.
New York State's $1 billion investment in electrifying New York's transportation sector is growing access to and availability of electric vehicles and clean transit while scaling the necessary infrastructure benefits to all New Yorkers, including those in low-income or disadvantaged areas, by reducing carbon emissions to create cleaner air and healthier communities. Recently, the State announced the $85 million New York Clean Transportation Prizes to enhance clean transportation and mobility options and reduce harmful emissions across New York State, especially in underserved communities. That investment is taking place in tandem with NY Green Bank’s $100 million in financing that will attract EV-sector manufacturers and other related businesses to the State.
Under a range of initiatives, including EV Make Ready, EVolve NY, and Charge NY, the State is rapidly multiplying the number of charging stations to have at least 10,000 chargers available across New York by the end of 2021. More than 37,000 Drive Clean Rebates have helped State residents purchase electric vehicles, contributing to more than 81,000 sold statewide since 2010.
For more information on the Climate Action Council, please visit climate.ny.gov.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the State, supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the State's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
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