Big News: New York Approves Net Zero Climate Plan!
The state released an ambitious and comprehensive “Scoping Plan” for implementing its landmark Climate Law.
On December 19th, New York State finalized an ambitious and comprehensive “Scoping Plan” (weighing in at 445 pages) to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)—the groundbreaking climate and equity legislation enacted in 2019 with leadership and extensive engagement from a diverse set of stakeholders across the environmental justice, labor, clean energy, business and environmental communities, and support from NRDC and many others.
The CLCPA sets forth landmark climate and clean energy targets that require all sectors of the State’s economy to collectively achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. It also emphasizes equity in fighting climate change by prioritizing reductions of GHG emissions and co-pollutants in disadvantaged communities and by requiring 35-40% of benefits from climate investments accrue to these communities. This later requirement became the inspiration and basis for the national Justice40 Initiative.
The Scoping Plan is the roadmap to achieve the State’s bold climate and clean energy goals. It identifies strategies to meet the CLCPA directives by the economic sector, as well as provides recommendations for economywide activities that the State should undertake to deliver on climate mitigation, justice, economic opportunity, and long-term job opportunities for New Yorkers. The sector addressed in the plan are transportation, buildings, electricity, industry, agriculture, forestry, and waste. A summary of the plan is available here.
NRDC’s press statement on the Scoping Plan is here, and comments we submitted over the summer are here. NRDC’s New York members also submitted 1,800 supportive comments on the plan.
The Scoping Plan was developed through a more than two-year process led by New York’s Climate Action Council (CAC), with extensive input from the Climate Justice Working Group, sector-specific recommendations from panels of experts that included NRDC staff, and robust public participation including over 35,000 public comments.
The CAC approved the Scoping Plan by a 19-3 vote, despite strong push back from many gas utilities and the fossil fuel industry, with their multi-million dollar opposition campaign. Only the three members of the CAC representing fossil interests (a gas utility, fossil generators, and others) voted against approving the plan. Their arguments against the plan—that the grid isn’t ready for any electrification, that we’ll have blackouts like Texas did in winter 2021, and that economic growth and climate action are in tension—have been rebutted by numerous studies (see: the definitive report on the grid collapse, published in 2021 by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, demonstrating that fossil gas fuel supply issues caused 87 percent of the outages in Texas during Uri, Urban Green Council on NYC grid readiness, and our NRDC colleagues on resilient renewables.)
We’ll be sifting through the voluminous Scoping Plan in the coming weeks, but we’re excited to see where New York is headed, and looking forward to all the work to come implementing it with our partners.