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New York Climate Action Council Continues Work To Craft State Emission Reduction Plan

The September 13 virtual meeting of the New York State Climate Action Council
WAMC screenshot

At its latest meeting, the New York State Climate Action Council continued its work to create a plan to meet the state’s climate goals.

The 22 member council was formed after the passage of the state climate act, which requires a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and at least 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

The council must develop a scoping plan to meet those targets and has been holding a series of meetings to hear recommendations from working groups and advisory panels.

As the most recent meeting began council co-chair and state Department of Environmental Commissioner Basil Seggos referred to the new, sixth IPCC assessment on climate change, saying it offered stark warnings.

“The IPCC report finding the clear link between climate change and human activity but also determining in many ways that strong and sustained actions on greenhouse gas emissions has the chance to limit climate change. It is relevant to everything that we’re doing.”

The Climate Justice Working group has previously provided the council feedback on transportation, housing and energy efficiency and power generation. At this meeting WE ACT for Environmental Justice Director of Public Policy Sonal Jessel outlined clean energy action recommendations.

“We’re supportive of efforts to increase the clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades for municipally owned buildings. We think that’s a huge opportunity that’s pretty clear. That developing tools and resources including mapping to help municipalities undertake comprehensive evaluation and to plan practically.”

Adirondack North Country Association Clean Energy Program Director Jerrod Bley added the advisory group also provided a suite of policies to obtain a 30 percent reduction in emissions from the agriculture sector.

“This means addressing agriculture’s reliance on harmful chemical use, the impacts of nutrient pollution, the impacts of fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing, a lack of diversity in New York’s agriculture, the treatment of farm workers and the harm industrial agriculture does.”

Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region Executive Director Abigail McHugh-Grifa told the Climate Action Council the state’s emission reduction goals are not ambitious enough.

“Particularly given that forestry has the potential to achieve carbon neutrality or even become a carbon sink. A more aggressive goal for this sector is therefore recommended. New York should adopt the goals set forth in the Agriculture Resilience Act a federal bill with comprehensive policies to reduce greenhouse gases from the U.S. agricultural sector. The ARA proposes a goal of reducing greenhouse gases 50 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2040.”

The next New York state Climate Action Council meeting will be held virtually on Friday, October 1st.

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