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 study of the feasibility of New York meeting the 100-percent renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, without mandating the development and implementation of a climate action plan. We already know 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 legislation commanding action, like that envisioned in the Climate and Community Protection Act (S.2992/A.3876), which 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 required by the Climate and Community Protection Act. Consideration of issues relative to system reliability and cost, especially as they pertain to low-income and environmental justice communities, are also included in the Climate and Community Protection Act. Thus, this legislation is unnecessary and does not supplement, but distracts, from the important actions mandated under 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.