The New York Senate and Assembly passed sweeping climate legislation this week, which would put the state on the forefront of climate action in the country. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CCPA) (S. 6599/A.8429) amends the public service law, public authorities law, labor law, and community risk and resilience act. The CCPA recognizes that climate change has a negative effect on economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment in New York State. Furthermore, actions taken by the state will impact global climate change. The CCPA states a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 100% over 1990 levels by 2050, meeting an interval level of 40% reduction by 2030 to be in line with IPCC and US Global Change Research Project estimations for necessary reductions to avoid warming above 2 degrees Celsius.
A new Article 75 would be added to the environmental conservation law to address climate change. It establishes a climate action council with 22 members that will convene advisory panels on transportation, energy intensive and trade-exposed industries, land-use and local government, energy efficiency and housing, power generation, and agriculture and forestry. The panels will provide specific recommendations to the council on the preparation of scoping plans. The council will also convene a working group to advise on issues relating to workforce development, disadvantaged communities, closing of possible electric power plants, and possibilities for new energy generation. There are various timelines for work to be completed on starting projects and planning. The council will also be responsible for issuing a statewide greenhouse gas emissions report.
Within one year, the Department of Environmental Conservation must establish greenhouse gas emissions limits for the state. The goal is to be at 60% of 1990 emissions by 2030 and 15% of 1990 emissions by 2050. The department will also form a climate justice working group to establish criteria to identify disadvantaged communities in order to ensure co-pollutant reductions, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and investments. Disadvantaged communities will also have community air monitoring systems to ensure a targeted reduction in toxic pollutants in some of the more polluted areas. The department will also establish by June 30, 2021, a renewable energy program to require that a minimum of 70% of electric generation in the state is generated by renewable energy sources and by 2040 the statewide system will be zero emissions. The department will also be responsible for promoting adaptation and resilience including taking into account sea level rise, tropical cyclones, storm surges, flooding, winds, changes in average peak temperatures, and impact on humans and animals.