“I think shoving something down someone’s throat of this magnitude is a mistake,” Long Island Democrat Todd Kaminsky told POLITICO. He was referring to progressive Democrats’ plan for a ban on natural gas hookups in new construction by 2024, pushing New York City’s ban forward three years and making it apply statewide. But he could have been referring to their increasingly extreme climate policies in general.
Activists want total control over every building in the state. How much will this add to the costs of new homes and commercial properties as developers scramble to make last-minute changes? Legislative supporters haven’t said, because they don’t know, and they don’t even care.
In a recent interview with Politico, Energy Committee Chair Kevin Parker said “People who want to stop gas right now don’t care anything about moderate- and low-income New Yorkers who have exorbitant energy bills already and are pushing to create dynamics in which costs for those communities will be higher.”
This is not the first time climate activists have moved the goalposts. They never seem satisfied with a win. Every policy victory comes with a demand for even more, but they never bother to tell New Yorkers what it’s all going to cost.
This has become a familiar story.
No sooner had former Governor Cuomo enacted the 50 by 30 goal of having 50 percent of the state’s energy produced by renewable sources in 2030 than the Climate Act upped the goal to 70 percent. But nobody has told utility consumers what the cost will be.
The goalposts have also been moved by the Climate Action Council in its preparation of the Scoping Plan for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). While the Climate Act calls for up to 9 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, the Scoping Plan calls for 16-19 gigawatts, which would require one new offshore wind turbine to be built every week between 2024 and 2050. What’s the consumer price tag on this expensive energy source? The Council publicly refused to consider that question.
And in her January 5 State of the State address, Governor Hochul upped the ante on battery energy storage. The Climate Act calls for 3,000 megawatts of battery storage in New York. But before the Scoping Plan for the Act has even been finalized, she has doubled that goal to 6,000 megawatts. That sounds very progressive, but what’s the price? She didn’t say.
So don’t expect the goals of the Climate Act to remain fixed. Don’t expect that climate activists will even wait for the Climate Action Council to complete the Scoping Plan. The radicals who want to control our every action in the name of the environment will never be satisfied that we are moving fast enough. That means every bit of New York climate policy is subject to further acceleration, over and over.
But winners in politics often overplay their hand. The sooner New Yorkers start feeling the real costs of state climate policy, the sooner climate activists might face a backlash. Until then, though, the advantage is theirs, and they will push it as hard as they can.