The state has followed the city's lead on climate change. Call it the New York carbon-reduction two-step.
Shortly after the city's Department of Buildings issued final rules on how co-op and condo boards and other building owners can comply with the Climate Mobilization Act, the state's Climate Action Council has approved a 445-page blueprint called a Scoping Plan for the state to achieve goals set in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, Crain's reports. That law requires an emissions-free electric grid by 2040 and a net-zero economy by 2050. With approval of the final Scoping Plan, Gov. Kathy Hohcul and the state Legislature can enact policy mandates on corporations and individuals designed to curb the state’s fossil-fuel emissions.
Here are three key suggestions in the blueprint:
Ban fossil fuels from new buildings and major renovations beginning in 2025 for smaller buildings and 2027 for larger properties. (New York City passed such a law in 2021.)
Dramatically scale up the buildout of renewable energy projects such as land-based wind and solar, offshore wind, hydropower and battery storage.
Create a cap-and-invest program that would require fossil-fuel emitters to purchase allowances for each ton of pollution over a cap. The proceeds would be funneled into green investments.
This third recommendation may be the most consequential — and controversial. Cap-and-invest would require fossil-fuel emitters to purchase allowances for each ton of pollution they're over the cap. The policy, which Hochul could enact through executive action, would partially answer the question of how to fund the economy’s multibillion-dollar green transition by pouring the proceeds into new climate investments. Some environmental justice advocates, however, are skeptical of the mechanism.
The plan’s recommendations are not binding. They are only a guide for the state Department of Environmental Conservation as it designs regulations. It's up to Hochul and state lawmakers to work to advance, or block, specific components of the plan. The first climate proving ground will be Hochul’s executive budget, which is due Feb. 1.
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