Saturday, September 5, 2020

New York’s Climate Act Sets Nation’s Most Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Limits

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos released proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emission statewide and implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The proposed regulations mark a milestone in realizing New York’s nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda.

The announcement demonstrates New York’s leadership on climate by taking a new and ambitious approach to the accounting of harmful emissions from fossil fuels – within and outside of the state – and for potent, short-lived pollutants such as methane. Additionally, the proposed regulations enable New York State to apply a flexible, stakeholder-driven approach for the annual accounting of net emissions.

The proposed regulations establish the 1990 baseline, per the CLCPA, to include all statewide sources of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as emissions associated with imported electricity and fossil fuels. The proposed regulations establish statewide emission limits on naturally occurring and manmade gases-carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride-to guide State agency actions.

The proposal was published in the State Register on Aug. 19, and is available at DEC’s website. DEC has scheduled two virtual public hearings on the proposal on October 20, and will accept written comments through 5 p.m. on October 27, 2020.

Doreen M. Harris, Acting President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “With the CLCPA, New York is leading the nation in aggressively combatting climate change by reducing harmful GHG emissions and stimulating a green economy that offers opportunity for all. The proposed regulations released by DEC today are another example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to environmental stewardship and if adopted, will represent a significant milestone in meeting New York’s ambitious goal to reduce emissions 85 percent by 2050 while ensuring a just transition to healthier, more resilient communities.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the CLCPA, the most ambitious climate and clean energy legislation in the country. The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. The law drives investment in clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage and ensures that at least 40 percent of the clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged and low-to-moderate income communities.

Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading climate plan 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 Builds Back Better as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to reach its mandated goals of economy wide carbon neutrality and achieving a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $3.9 billion investment in 67 large-scale renewable projects across the state; the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector; a commitment to develop over 1,800 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024; 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011; efforts to expand and update the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, increase funding and access to clean energy for low- and moderate-income families; a commitment to electrify buses and trucks; and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, including $206 million of $701 million allocated for lower-socio-economic and disadvantaged communities to build electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure announced by the Governor just last month.

Almanack photo of Shaheen’s in Tupper Lake


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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

One Response

  1. M Leybra says:

    According to article, “New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy …. includes a commitment to develop over 1,800 megawatts of offshore wind (energy) by 2024.” Not to mention the mortality rate of birds, bats & insects from on-land wind turbines, have there been any studies re the expected mortality rate of shore birds from offshore wind turbines?
    According to a 9-20-19 report in the journal Science, North America’s bird populations have declined by 3 billion since 1970. According to Science Direct, studies from Germany & Puerto Rico describe a 76% loss of insect biomass over the last 35 years. Of all the different species of bats in North America, the U.S F&W Service has listed myriad species as endangered since 1994…..citing pesticides cave disturbance, WNS disease & habitat modifications e.g. urbanization, agriculture & other land use practices. Last but not least, can now add wind turbines.) Turbine casualties that will undoubtedly effect local insect populations and thus food resources of bats & birds.
    There are many reasons that continuing to go full-speed ahead building wind turbines as a magic bullet, alternative energy source may eventually prove to have expanded too fast, being an inconsistent source of power when the wind doesn’t blow being the main one. Perhaps the pace of turbine building in NY should not be ‘rushed’ despite Gov. Cuomo’s enthusiasm. Come up for air & further evaluate the possible cons. And given the present day scale & pace of environmental degradation caused by human activity, maybe even take seriously the probable negative impact on already declining species & how much NY’s massive building of turbines will exacerbate their decline.
    This would be the area where the NY DEC’s input would fit in. However being DEC Comm. Seggos is appointed by the Gov, one wouldn’t expect any environmental issue to diverge from political decisions. Nor from NYSERDA whose 13-member Board is also appointed by the Gov. & partially financed thru a Systems Benefit Charge on NY customer’s gas & electric monthly bill.

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