The verdict is in, the latest international and national climate assessments are clear that the current rate of carbon emissions is leading to a devastating trajectory of rising global temperatures if swift action is not taken. In order to help stabilize a likely global temperature increase of 1.5°C, we have less than 12 years to reduce carbon emissions by 45% below 2010 levels and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Instead of mandating action, this legislation proposes a multi-year study of the feasibility of New York meeting the 100-percent renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, potentially delaying for years the development and implementation of a climate action plan. As written, the legislation places a heavy emphasis on the cost of actions to meet these goals, but is silent on the costs of inaction, particularly health impacts. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels will significantly improve air quality resulting in less illness and premature deaths, reduced healthcare costs, and lost wages, while also keeping the more than $30 billion New Yorkers spend on fossil fuels in the State instead of lining the pockets of out-of-state oil and gas interests.
The time for studying the issue has passed, New York needs comprehensive climate action, like that envisioned in the Climate and Community Protection Act (S.2992/A.3876), that will guide the State to the complete elimination of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Many of the subjects rightfully identified in this proposed study legislation, like transitions to zero emission vehicles, renewable energy and efficiency deployment plans, net zero emission construction requirements, and renewable heating can and will be considered in the development and implementation of the climate action plan. Consideration of issues relative to system reliability and cost, especially as they pertain to low-income and environmental justice communities, are also required by the Climate and Community Protection Act.
This legislation amends the Energy Law to direct the State Energy Planning Board to commence study on the feasibility of a one hundred percent renewable energy system and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The bill does not require that the study be completed nor will it be subject to public comment.