New York’s Climate Action Council has announced an extension of the comment period on the state’s draft Scoping Plan for the implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Originally scheduled to close today (June 10), the window for submitting comments has now been extended to Friday, July 1. 

There are many reasons New Yorkers may want to comment on the draft Scoping Plan. Nearly all economic activity in the state will be affected by the Plan, a 300-page exercise in top-down social planning that will directly affect everyone’s lives in costly ways. It covers policy recommendations for transportation, buildings, electricity, industry, agriculture and forestry, and waste management.  

The CLCPA was enacted in 2019 and contains several ambitious targets. These include: 

  • 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, just eight years from now; 
  • 100 percent zero-emissions electricity in 2040, only eighteen years away; 
  • An 85 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) by 2050. 

The Council completed the draft of the Scoping Plan in 2021 and released it in January of this year for public review. So far, they have received over 18,000 comments, both verbal and written. 

In transportation, the plan calls for nearly 100 percent of light-duty car and truck sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This is five years before the state’s mandated ban on selling new internal combustion engine cars. If the plan’s recommendation is followed, that deadline will have to be moved up. 

The plan also says “New Yorkers will need to substantially reduce” their vehicle miles traveled. Supposedly there will be massive investment in new public transit, and people will be expected to walk more to get where they’re going. That this won’t suit everyone’s needs is not the Council’s concern. 

In buildings, the plan proposes to end sales of new gas furnaces by 2030, forcing homeowners toward electric heating upgrades and home efficiency retrofits that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, homeowners will never recoup their costs through energy savings. 

The plan also proposes to ban gas stoves, hot water heaters, and clothes dryers. 

In the electricity production sector, the plan fails to provide energy security for New York’s citizens. The CLCPA and the Scoping Plan simultaneously push for an increase in electricity demand – coming from electrification of homes and a massive increase in electric vehicles – while looking to shut down reliable natural gas power plants and replace them with unreliable wind and solar energy. 

The plan itself recognizes that by 2040 the state will have an energy shortfall equal to the electricity production of 20 or more power plants and admits that renewables cannot make up that gap. But it provides no pathway to meeting the shortfall except to hope that some as-yet unproven technology will be developed.  

This risks leaving New Yorkers without electricity on the coldest days of winter, when demand will be highest, potentially resulting in hundreds of deaths.  

Overall, the Scoping Plan is less a plan than an assemblage of ideals best categorized as wishful thinking. But it is wishful thinking that has the potential to be implemented by unelected bureaucrats in various state agencies, with potentially catastrophic consequences on the state’s economy and citizens’ pocketbooks. 

The Council will conclude its work on the Scoping Plan by the end of the year. Now is the time for the public to make its views known. Concerned citizens can read the draft Scoping Plan and submit their comments at the Climate Action Council’s website.

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