New York State Climate Action Council approves plan to reduce carbon emissions

[anvplayer video=”5153720″ station=”998131″]

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Climate Action Council adopted a plan for the state to work toward becoming carbon neutral to fight climate change.

The council approved the plan with a 19 to 3 vote on Monday. You can see the 445-page plan here.

The plan outlines the action the state needs to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and to become net zero by 2050. The state wants to get 70% of its electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind or solar, by 2030 and to become carbon neutral in its electricity sector by 2040.

The Climate Action Council is calling for single-family homes to switch to fully electric heating systems by 2025, which would eliminate the need for gas and oil home appliances. It also calls for expanding jobs in green energy, along with making wind and solar energy more affordable. The council also wants to improve financial incentives for making buildings net zero and improving their energy efficiency.

The council supports the state’s goal to bring renewable energy to underserved communities to address energy insecurity and pollution from factories or energy facilities. The state’s Climate Act requires underserved communities to receive 35% of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

The council also calls on the state to invest in infrastructure that protects communities against flooding and heat waves, which are expected to become severe and frequent with climate change.

Climate Action Council Co-Chair and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos released a statement saying: “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.”

State senate republican leader Rob Ortt released a statement saying: “Instead of enacting a radical and unachievable plan, we should be seeking cost-effective, common-sense solutions to improve our environment and our economy.”

The recommendations in the Climate Action Council’s plan include:

  • 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.

About Rochester’s response to climate change: