New York State Climate Action Council Finalizes Scoping Plan to Advance Nation-leading Climate Law
Robust Public Input Provided Over the Past Three Years Informed Creation of Roadmap to Meet Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Requirements
December 19, 2022
New York State's Climate Action Council (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, today announced the approval and adoption of the New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan , which outlines recommended policies and actions to help meet the goals and requirements of the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). After a 19-3 vote by the Council during a meeting on Dec. 19, 2022, the Scoping Plan is available to the public and will be submitted to the Governor and the State Legislature by Jan. 1, 2023. This critical milestone represents the culmination of over three years of collaboration, including contributions from the Council’s Advisory Panels and Working Groups, since the enactment of the Climate Act in 2019.
Climate Action Council Co-Chair and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I applaud my colleagues on the Climate Action Council, and members of the various advisory panels and working groups, for their tireless work over the past three years to develop this Scoping Plan to serve as a framework to achieve our ambitious climate targets under the nation-leading Climate Act. This Plan serves as a bold, monumental achievement not just for New York State, but for the nation and the world, which centers on equity and climate justice across all sectors, building opportunities for all, and ensuring we have a workforce that can transition as seamlessly as possible in our new clean energy economy. Our work is just beginning, and we are leading the way to a cleaner, greener, and brighter future.”
Climate Action Council Co-Chair and NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York State laid the groundwork for change with its nation-leading climate law, and through the diligent and thoughtful work of the Climate Action Council, along with input from the public in every corner of the state, we now have an action plan to follow to ensure we meet these critical goals. Today is certainly a day to celebrate, but this also marks the beginning of more significant work to come as we forge the path ahead and lead by example on how to transition an economy based on the conventional energy practices of yesterday to the thriving green economy of tomorrow.”
The Council approved the Scoping Plan following the release of the Draft Scoping Plan on Dec. 30, 2021, and a robust public comment period that included 11 public hearings across the State and more than 35,000 written comments. This feedback and other information on the plan’s development can be found on the New York State Climate Act website, climate.ny.gov , along with an Executive Summary and additional resources. 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. The contributions from these groups are included in appendices to the Scoping Plan. As required under the Climate Act, the Council will update the Scoping Plan every five years to ensure the plan continues to meet the State’s aggressive climate targets.
TAKING CLIMATE ACTION
The Scoping Plan’s recommendations will provide the foundation to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive critical building and transportation electrification, secure climate justice, and advance the State’s commitment to economywide carbon neutrality by 2050 consistent with interim and long-term directives established in the Climate Act. 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 essential to achieving these directives.
Based on the Council’s integration analysis, recommendations include:
- Critical investments in every sector of New York’s economy to support deep decarbonization efforts;
- Accelerated energy efficiency and end-use electrification mechanisms to foster approximately one to two million homes transitioning to clean heating and cooling options such as heat pumps by 2030, in addition to a statewide scale-up of approximately three million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2030; and
- Electric grid infrastructure investments to support retrofitting existing infrastructure to help withstand extreme weather and deploying energy storage or onsite renewables that will improve the reliability and resilience of the electric grid in the face of worsening storms and other impacts of climate change.
New York’s climate actions, as recommended by the Council in the Scoping Plan, will deliver many benefits to New Yorkers, including:
- Clean and reliable electric power through solar, wind, and other renewables, combined with energy storage, to help end consumer vulnerability to fossil fuel disruptions and price volatility;
- Energy-efficient and comfortable homes and businesses with a scale-up of modern, clean heating and cooling technologies, such as electric heat pumps and smart thermostats, combined with weatherization measures;
- Healthy, efficient, and reliable electric vehicle access that will save New Yorkers money with lower costs to fuel, operate, and maintain. Zero-emission transportation options, including mass transit, fleet vehicles, and medium-heavy-duty electric vehicles, will foster fresher air and cleaner communities across the State;
- Smart energy choices through State and federal programs and incentives designed to help New Yorkers choose and afford more efficient and higher-performing electric appliances and vehicles when gasoline vehicles and fossil-fueled heating or cooking appliances need replacement;
- Significant growth in jobs within green industries, with union labor as the backbone of the State’s clean energy economy, which will help create family-sustaining jobs and wage gains across the economy and in every corner of the State;
- Healthy living for families through improved air quality, increased active transportation such as walking and biking, and promoting energy efficiency in low- and moderate-income homes. New Yorkers will see positive health benefits that will help avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths, thousands of non-fatal heart attacks, asthma-related emergency room visits, and other hospitalizations; and
- Smart infrastructure investments for a healthy future, with the cost of inaction in New York State exceeding the cost of action by more than $115 billion.
SECURING CLIMATE JUSTICE
The Scoping Plan also prioritizes work led by the CJWG and puts forth comprehensive actions to address climate justice and ensure that the State’s transition to a low-carbon, clean energy economy addresses health, environmental, and energy burdens that disproportionately impact Disadvantaged Communities . The Climate Act requires Disadvantaged Communities receive a minimum of 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of benefits of investments in clean energy and energy efficiency programs or projects in the areas of housing, workforce development, pollution reduction, low- and moderate-income energy assistance, energy, transportation, and economic development.
Identified benefits and impacts to Disadvantaged Communities are included throughout the Scoping Plan with recommended greenhouse gas and co-pollutant emissions reduction strategies designed to deliver concrete benefits to individuals in Disadvantaged Communities, such as:
- Addressing energy affordability concerns and reducing energy burden;
- Reducing environmental burden from greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants;
- Ensuring full participation in the new clean economy and corresponding job growth, including through access to good quality jobs and union-based employment opportunities;
- Ensuring access to New York State’s significant and growing policies and programs that invest in clean local resources, like solar and energy efficiency; and
- Ensuring an inclusive process and full participation by Disadvantaged Communities and their representatives in the ongoing work of developing and implementing climate action policies and programs.
ENSURING A JUST TRANSITION
A critical component of New York’s Climate Act is ensuring that the advancement of a low-carbon and clean energy economy results in new economic development opportunities throughout the State and supports long-term careers in jobs across all sectors, while simultaneously providing support and tools to the workers and communities who may be affected by the unfolding energy transition.
A Jobs Study, issued by the Council’s Just Transition Working Group, found that job increases are anticipated in every corner of the State, totaling more than 200,000 by 2030, with a projected 10 jobs added in growing clean energy sectors for every job potentially lost in displaced subsectors. At the same time, where certain sectors and occupations face a risk of job displacement, the State will work to ensure job losses are minimized and that any losses come with meaningful support and reemployment protections.
To ensure a just transition, the State will undertake strategies in the Scoping Plan that help build connections, support existing workers and communities, create job pathways, and realize opportunities for New York’s future workforce. State agencies will also work with union labor representatives to ensure all New Yorkers have access to career pathways through union programs.
The following recommendations support New York’s growing green economy workforce and help protect workers vulnerable to potential disruption and displacement:
- Provide direct displaced worker support to mitigate economic impact and ensure that current and former fossil fuel workers benefit from the transition to clean energy;
- Ensure application of labor standards across all sectors and projects, helping create good union jobs and helping the State take advantage of new federal tax credit requirements and attract greater financial benefits to New York;
- Target financial support for businesses to ensure access to contracting and procurement opportunities in the transition away from fossil fuels;
- Create new and comprehensive training curricula and programs focused on opportunities for people from underserved communities that meet employer hiring needs;
- Expand comprehensive career pathway programs into clean energy for both existing and future workers;
- Leverage community engagement, stakeholder input, and market assessments to identify and assess industry skills gaps, employee demand, and curriculum and training needs; and
- Create a new Office of Just Transition and a Worker Support and Community Assurance Fund to guide ongoing program and policy support for the near- to medium-term: host community support, existing worker support, and new worker support.
SCOPING PLAN’S SECTOR SUMMARIES
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. Maximizing the carbon sequestration and storage potential in the agriculture and forestry sectors is a key strategy for achieving net-zero emissions across all sectors of the economy by 2050.
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. Equip municipalities with the necessary tools and resources to protect New York’s natural and working lands, while also advancing renewable energy siting. Achieve smart, sustainable, and equitable planning, zoning and projects that align with supportive transportation, economic development, and housing policies and practices.
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 Scoping Plan also recommends implementation of an economywide cap-and-invest program that would ensure the Climate Act’s emission limits are met, while simultaneously prioritizing reduction of co-pollutants in Disadvantaged Communities and supporting clean technology market development. By establishing a consistent market signal across all economic sectors, an economywide program will enable individuals and businesses to make decisions that reduce their emissions and yield the necessary emission reductions. Revenues generated by the program will leverage federal programs and other funding sources to implement policies identified in this Scoping Plan, including investments to benefit Disadvantaged Communities.
For more information on the Climate Action Council’s Scoping Plan, please visit climate.ny.gov .
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State'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 achieve 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 investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, 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 are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance 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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Haley Viccaro, DEC Press Office
Email: [email protected]