New York Poised to Pursue Aggressive Agenda to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New York’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (the “Climate Act”) mandates that by 2030, New York must achieve 70 percent renewable energy generation, and by 2040, must achieve 100 percent zero-emission electricity. The Climate Act also created the Climate Action Council (the “Council”) and tasked it with developing a scoping plan to serve as the initial framework for how the State will achieve the Climate Act’s ambitious goals.
On December 19, 2022, the Council announced the approval and adoption of the New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan (“the Plan”). The Plan includes a sweeping list of recommendations that touches upon practically every sector of the economy. Its recommendations include:
- an aggressive transition to renewable energy sources, including new and upgraded transmission and distribution systems so that renewable energy generated upstate can be moved to more populated areas downstate;
- the implementation of an economy-wide cap-and-invest program; improved monitoring, reduction, and capture of methane emissions from solid waste management facilities and water resource recovery facilities;
- the timed phase-out of gasoline vehicles so that by 2030, nearly all light-duty vehicle sales are zero-emission; and
- the timed phase-out of fossil fuel heating and cooking appliances so that when they are retired, they are replaced with electric alternatives.
With the Plan finalized, the next phase for implementing the Climate Act will fall on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC has until January 1, 2024 to draft and promulgate enforceable regulations to ensure the State meets the Climate Act’s statewide greenhouse gas emission limits as outlined in the Plan. Given the breadth of the Plan, and a newly elected Governor in place who is committed to fighting Climate Change, these forthcoming regulations will likely propose sweeping changes that may affect virtually every industry in the State. Stakeholders will therefore want to closely monitor any opportunity for public input.