Climate Action Council 11/30/21 Meeting: Scoping Plan Chapter Overview

According to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) the Scoping Plan will “achieve the State’s bold clean energy and climate agenda” and meet a “net-zero” goal of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  At the November 30, 2021 meeting (recording here), Climate Action Council feedback on the draft Scoping Plan was discussed.  The discussion of most of the chapters included a summary overview.  That information is useful of people who have not looked at this material before so this post consolidates all the overviews.

I have written extensively on implementation of the Climate Act because I believe the ambitions for a zero-emissions economy outstrip available technology such that it will adversely affect reliability and affordability, risk safety, affect lifestyles, will have worse impacts on the environment than the purported effects of climate change in New York, and cannot measurably affect global warming when implemented.   The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.

Background

The Climate Action Council is responsible for preparing the Scoping Plan. Starting in the fall of 2020 seven advisory panels developed recommended strategies to meet the targets that were presented to the Climate Action Council in the spring of 2021.  Those recommendations were translated into specific policy options in an integration analysis by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its consultants.  An overview of the results of this integration analysis were presented to the Climate Action Council at the two October meetings and has since been updated.  A draft scoping plan has been prepared and distributed to the Climate Action Council but not to the public.

The November 30, 2021 meeting devoted much time to a description of the feedback received from the Council on the draft scoping plan.  I discussed the unresolved issues brought up and, in another post, the issues that I thought were controversial.  After publishing those and linking the Citizens Guide to them I realized that the background overviews would be a useful summary for people who are just getting introduced to the contents of the Climate Act.  If any of the chapter discussions piques your interest then I suggest you refer back to the two other posts.

Gas System Transition Chapter

The presentation (1:17:09 of the recording) noted that the natural gas system has to change to meet the targets: “A well-planned transition of the system is needed to ensure the transition is equitable and cost effective without compromising reliability and safety”.  They also noted that the issue was addressed by multiple advisory panels but none covered all the considerations.  Advisory panels provided the recommendations show on the following slide for the gas system transition.  This is a controversial topic primarily because the speed and scope of the transition mandated by the law does not necessarily square with the feasibility of the transition.

Electricity Chapter

The overview of this chapter (1:22:05) noted that by 2030 the 70% of the electricity used will come from renewable sources, that 10 GW behind-the-meter solar and 3 GW energy storage will be installed. 

Buildings Chapter

The overview of this chapter (1:26:24) noted that by 2030 heat pumps be used for the majority of new purchases for space and water heating, 1-2 million households will be electrified with heat pumps, and heat pumps provide space heating and cooling for 10-20% of commercial space. 

Transportation Chapter

The transportation discussion started at 1:34:56. The overview noted that by 2030 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales of ~100% for light-duty and 40% or more for medium-and heavy-duty vehicles are expected and that personal transportation in urbanized areas will shift to public transportation or other low-carbon modes. 

Industry Chapter

The industry chapter discussion started at 1:39:00.  The 2030 overview says there will be continued energy efficiency investments, switches to low carbon resources, including electrification to a limited extent, and that the heterogeneity of the sector calls for customized solutions to meet needs.  Heterogeneity means there are so many different industries and so many challenges to reducing emissions from all of them that they cannot say much. 

Agriculture & Forestry Chapter The discussion of this chapter starts at 1:46:55. The overview for 2030 states the plan is to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions in the agricultural sector from livestock operations and cropland management and increase carbon storage and sequestration in agricultural and forestry products through the avoided conversion of farm and forest lands, afforestation and reforestation, improved forest management practices, cropland management practices and harvested wood products

Economy-Wide Strategies Chapter

This discussion starts at 1:55:52. The State did not provide the Council with a draft of this chapter so the discussion only provided a summary of what will be included. The overview states the obvious that compliance of with Statewide GHG emission limits requires DEC regulations that shall “[e]nsurethat the aggregate emissions of greenhouse gases from greenhouse gas emission sources will not exceed the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits.”  The issue of funding has to be a major consideration and the overview states that it is necessary to “establish a source of funding to implement other policies identified in this plan, particularly policies that require state investment or state funding of incentive programs, after accounting for other funding streams”.  It goes on to mention the need to provide a market signal that will yield additional emission reductions as individuals.

Land Use Chapter

The land use chapter discussion starts at 1:55:48. The overview points out that this is a cross cutting topic with recommendations from Agriculture and Forestry, Transportation, and Land Use and Local Government Panels.  It notes that land use decisions affect the state’s carbon emissions, sequestration, and storage, and that it is necessary to balance the protection and restoration of natural and working lands, development, and clean energy siting.  There will be issues related to the plans to “arrange and design development and conservation” to meet the following:

  • Dense and targeted development patterns
  • Strategic open space conservation
  • Maximize natural and working lands
  • Aligned with transportation and infrastructure investments

Local Government Chapter

This chapter discussion starts at 2:01:39. The overview lists actions that local governments are expected to do: taking significant action and contributing directly to meeting Climate Act goals; develop partnerships between the State and local governments to help drive rapid adoption, widespread participation, and big impact, lead by example to help increase the priority of clean energy and sustainability for residents, businesses, and institutions and become increasingly engaged in providing education and training, outreach, and technical assistance.

Waste Chapter

The waste chapter discussion starts at 2:05:33. The overview stated that in 2030 there would be significant increase in organics diversion from landfills, existing landfill emission will be reduced through capping, emissions monitoring and leak reduction, and waste reduction, reuse, and recycling initiatives will be put in place.

Climate Justice Chapter

The discussion of this chapter started at 2:08:10. In parallel to the development of the Scoping Plan the Climate Justice Working Group has been working on plans to define disadvantaged communities, how best to direct benefits to disadvantaged communities, and set up community air monitoring programs.  All these are legal mandates of the Climate Act.

Just Transition Chapter

The Just Transition workgroup (starting at 2:10:55) is supposed to advise the Council on issues and opportunities for workforce development and training related to energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and other clean energy technologies, with specific focus on training and workforce opportunities for disadvantaged communities, and segments of the population that may be underrepresented in the clean energy workforce such as veterans, women and formerly incarcerated persons. principles –10 principles in support of a fair and equitable transition.

Health Chapter

The health chapter discussion starts at 2:14:42. The State’s health improvement plan is supposed to improve health outcomes, enable well-being, and promote equity across lifespans. 

Adaptation and Resilience Chapter

This discussion started at 2:18:42. This chapter will discuss preparations for the “impacts of present and future climate change”. 

Conclusion

The purpose of this post was simply to provide a general overview of the chapters of the forthcoming scooping plan.  The “transparent and open” Climate Act implementation process did not share the initial drafts to the public.  As a result, there is not much I can say about the scoping plan chapters at this time.

Author: rogercaiazza

I am a meteorologist (BS and MS degrees), was certified as a consulting meteorologist and have worked in the air quality industry for over 40 years. I author two blogs. Environmental staff in any industry have to be pragmatic balancing risks and benefits and (https://pragmaticenvironmentalistofnewyork.blog/) reflects that outlook. The second blog addresses the New York State Reforming the Energy Vision initiative (https://reformingtheenergyvisioninconvenienttruths.wordpress.com). Any of my comments on the web or posts on my blogs are my opinion only. In no way do they reflect the position of any of my past employers or any company I was associated with.

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