Governor Carney Unveils Climate Action Plan But is it More Plan than Action?
Governor Carney unveiled Delaware’s Climate Action Plan on November 4, 2021 (the “Plan”), continuing his administration’s expressed focus on climate change. According to the Governor, the Plan will serve as a roadmap for the State as it pursues goals to both reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and maximize Delaware’s resilience to climate change.
With respect to emissions reductions, the Plan sets a path for achieving the Governor’s commitment to reducing state GHG emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 from 2005 levels. The Plan identifies several potential strategies for achieving these reductions including expanding the availability of clean and renewable energy, phasing out reliance on fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency, transitioning the transportation sector to zero-emission vehicles, and focusing on reductions of “high global warming potential” GHGs like methane. As for improving Delaware’s resilience to climate change, the Plan proposes strategies including reviewing and updating existing regulations, coordinating with and supporting local communities and stakeholders, and assisting with Delaware-specific research and monitoring.
None of the Plan’s proposed strategies or potential solutions are mandated by law. The Plan itself does not change any existing laws, policies, regulations, or funding levels, according to DNREC. Nor does the Plan call for specific legislative solutions. Rather, the Plan makes repeated reference to taking advantage of existing laws and programs to further its ambitious agenda. In this respect, the Plan tracks similar efforts by DNREC to promote environmental justice, another headlines-grabbing issue, where DNREC has so far eschewed the promulgation of formal rulemaking or guidance, choosing instead to informally incorporate environmental justice considerations into its decision-making.
It therefore remains to be seen what the practical consequences for Delaware and its regulated community will be as a result of the Climate Action Plan.