New York’s Climate Act Scoping Plan Process Template

By Roger Caiazza

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) Scoping Plan framework for the net-zero by 2050 transition plan has been under development for the last two years.  A meeting of the Climate Action Council to vote on the Draft Final New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan will be held on Monday, December 19, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.  This post describes my overview impression of the process and the likely outcome of the vote.  I think it is relevant outside of New York because it gives a template for implementing a net-zero transition program.

Climate Act Background

The Climate Act establishes a “Net Zero” target (85% reduction and 15% offset of emissions) by 2050. The Climate Action Council is responsible for preparing the Scoping Plan that will outline how to “achieve the State’s bold clean energy and climate agenda.”  In brief, that plan is to electrify everything possible and power the electric grid with zero-emissions generating resources by 2040.  The Integration Analysis prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its consultants quantifies the impact of the electrification strategies.  That material was used by staff from various State agencies to write a Draft Scoping Plan that was released for public comment at the end of 2021. The Climate Action Council is required to finalize the Scoping Plan by the end of the 2022 so this meeting will meet that requirement.  If anyone has a masochistic desire to view the meeting, details are available at the Climate Act meetings and events page.

Legislation enacting net-zero targets by 2050 are political ploys catering to specific constituencies.  The prime narrative of the Climate Act is featured on their web page:

Our Future is at stake and that’s why New York State is committed to the most aggressive clean energy and climate plan in the country. Each of us has a role in protecting our communities and ensuring a sustainable future for every New Yorker. If we each do our part, we’ll lower harmful emissions in the air we breathe while transforming New York’s economy, creating new jobs, and building more resilient communities.

The authors of the Climate Act legislation believed that meeting the net-zero target was only a matter of political will.  I believe that any similar legislation will follow the script used in New York.  Despite the apparent objectivity of the implementation framework, it is just is a façade. The Climate Act established the Climate Action Council to direct the development of the Scoping Plan.  It consists of 22 members that were chosen by ideology not expertise.  There are 12 agency members: all appointed by the Governor, and 10 at-large members: two non-agency representatives appointed by the Governor, three representatives appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, one representative appointed by the minority leader of the Assembly, three representatives appointed by the Temporary President of the Senate, and one representative appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.  Not surprisingly, the legislation passed when both the Senate and Assembly were controlled by the Democratic party so all but two Council members are slanted one way.  The upcoming vote on the Scoping Plan must pass by a super majority of 15 votes but it is purely a formality because of the makeup of the Council.  The only question is whether anyone will cast a symbolic “no” vote for approval.

Public Comments

Similar programs will make a big deal about public participation.  The Council has bragged about their stakeholder process noting that the comment period was longer than required.  The Climate Act public comment period covered six months and included eleven Public Hearings where 700 people spoke.  Approximately 35,000 comments were received but around 25,000 comments were “potentially the same or substantially similar”, i.e., form letters.  That left on the order of 10,000 unique comments.  It was obviously impossible for the Council members to read them all so agency staff had to read, categorize, and summarize all the comments. That filter certainly shaped the response to the comments because they got to pick and choose which comments received attention.

Agency staff presentations to the Council described themes of the comments with very little specificity. 

There was clear bias in the theme presentations – anything inconsistent with the narrative was disparaged, downplayed, or ignored.  I recently noted that the Climate Action Council treatment of stakeholder comments basically ignored anything that conflicted with the narrative of the Climate Act.   I suspect that any similar program will also have a phony public participation process.

There is another problem I believe will be common with other initiatives.  The Council emphasis was on the language in the Draft Scoping Plan and not on any technical issues.  I spent an inordinate amount of time evaluating technical issues associated with the Integration Analysis this year and prepared a summary that described all my comments.  No comments associated with Integration Analysis technical methodology or errors were discussed at any of the Climate Action Council meetings and it is not clear that the Council members are even aware that specific integration analysis issues were raised.  I have no illusions that my comments were necessarily important but the fact that technical comments from organizations responsible for the New York electric grid were also ignored is beyond troubling. 

What’s Next

The political motivation for the Climate Act was we must do something to address the existential threat of climate change. In the political calculus the important thing was to establish a politically correct target and ignore implementation details.  In New York the biggest missing piece was how to fund all the necessary components of the net-zero transition.   When something similar comes to your state watch the bait and switch between supporting legislation that is subject to voter disapproval and agency regulation which is more or less at the whim of the Administration.

Next year the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will promulgate enforceable regulations to ensure achievement of the Statewide GHG emission limits. The regulations will be based on the Scoping Plan framework. The Plan does not include a feasibility analysis so it is not clear how regulations can be promulgated when the implementation risks to reliability, affordability, and the environment are unknown.  When questions arose about those nasty little details came up at Council meetings the response by the leadership was that the Scoping Plan was just an outline and those issues would be addressed later.  I fully expect that when the regulations are discussed in the public consultatin process the nasty little details will be ignored because the Hochul Administration will say the Scoping Plan is a mandate of the legislation.  The circular argument can only end badly.

Conclusion

The New York Scoping Plan approval vote will be on December 19.  I predict that the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of approving the Plan.  Each council member will be given the opportunity to make a statement when they vote.  I predict those statements will be laden with emotion and likely fact-free. I also predict that if the ideologues continue control the implementation process then  costs will sky rocket, that there will be a catastrophic blackout that causes death and destruction, and that blanketing the state with wind mills and solar panels will cause significant environmental harm. 

I will publish an update with the highlights of the meeting when they post the link to the meeting recording. 

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Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.  More details on the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act are available here and an inventory of over 250 articles about the Climate Act is also available.   This represents his opinion and not the opinion of any of his previous employers or any other company with which he has been associated.

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Tom Halla
December 18, 2022 2:10 pm

New York will rely on unicorn farts, their Dispatchable non-carbon emitting sources.
Nuclear would work, but the hard core greens go ballistic over nukes.

John DeFayette
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 18, 2022 4:23 pm

Just imagine all that methane they’re leaving in the ground right under their feet.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John DeFayette
December 19, 2022 4:24 am

The good news is a big part of New York sits atop the prolific Marcellus shale play, which could hold more than 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to one estimate. The unfortunate reality is that state leaders continue to leave in place a ban on hydraulic fracturing used to produce gas from shale. The result is that most of the natural gas New York uses comes from Canada and other states, including its Marcellus neighbor, Pennsylvania. This, in part, helps explain why New Yorkers pay some of the nation’s highest prices for electricity. Another big part is New York’s hostility toward energy infrastructure.

https://naturalgassolution.org/regions/new-york/

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 19, 2022 5:53 am

and some of that nice Marcellus shall gas could be comming into New England if these states were less woke- so we’re seeing huge increases in electricity prices- though gasoline prices are slowly dropping

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 18, 2022 6:56 pm

It will be the mid-2030’s before the nuclear construction industrial base in the United States is strong enough to be taking large numbers of plant orders. The oncoming energy train wreck will already be well upon the state by the time nuclear could be considered as a serious option — assuming that the anti-nuclear sentiment in the state could be successfully opposed, something which is not by any means a certainty even after the energy trainwreck has occurred. .

Tom Halla
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 18, 2022 7:02 pm

Undoing Jimmy Carter’s mischief will take quite a long time. Undoing any of his executive orders would be a good move.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 18, 2022 7:33 pm

The single biggest problem the nuclear industry faced in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s was its own inability to manage its construction projects in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Those projects which had strong management teams got through the regulatory issues of the 1970’s and early 1980’s more or less successfully. Those projects which had weak management teams more often than not foundered.

By the end of the 1980’s, the nuclear construction industry had learned the hard lessons of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and could have moved smartly forward had there been orders for new reactors.

But it was not to be. Gas-fired power plants could be delivered more quickly and more cheaply, and with less financial and technical risk. So that’s what the power utilities did.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 18, 2022 7:33 pm

Willis Eschenbach wrote of the nuclear option :
“ We could go all nuclear. In that case, we’d need to build, commission, and bring on-line a brand-new 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every single day from now until 2050. Easy, right? …”

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/01/27/bright-green-impossibilities/

Beta Blocker
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 19, 2022 9:22 am

As Willis’ article reads, a brand-new 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every single day from now until 2050 is what would be needed for the entire world to go Net Zero by 2050.

According to Wikipedia, nuclear power in the United States is provided by 92 commercial reactors with a net capacity of 94.7 gigawatts (GW), with 61 pressurized water reactors and 31 boiling water reactors.

In 2019, these reactors produced a total of 809.41 terawatt-hours of electricity, which accounted for 20% of the nation’s total electric energy generation. In 2018, nuclear comprised nearly 50 percent of US emission-free energy generation.

A question: Is it reasonable to think we could double the amount of electricity produced by nuclear in the US by constructing another eighty or so AP1000 size reactors by 2050? Or maybe 800 SMR’s of 100 MWe size? Or some mix of the two?

Not a chance. If we got started today with an all out well-funded effort to move towards nuclear in the US, we would be very lucky to get another ten new AP1000 reactors operating by 2050, and possibly 80 to 100 new SMR’s.

Frank from NoVA
December 18, 2022 2:45 pm

‘…costs will sky rocket, that there will be a catastrophic blackout that causes death and destruction, and that blanketing the state with wind mills and solar panels will cause significant environmental harm. ‘

I feel pity for the folks ‘upstate’ who will bear the burden of living in a state where the progressives have an absolute lock on political power. If it’s any consolation, they’ll be in the vanguard of ‘net zero’, along with their counterparts in CA.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 19, 2022 4:28 am

some of the upstate farmers might like this as they can make more money leasing the land for solar “farms” than growing hay- I see this bigly here in MA

CD in Wisconsin
December 18, 2022 3:09 pm

Union of Church and State in NY State and California. Faith in a belief system does not generate energy.

As I have said in the past, one of the worst things about being in a cult is not knowing you’ re in one until it is too late.

AndyHce
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
December 18, 2022 8:04 pm

Faith can move mountains? Move a whole mountain up and you have a hell of a lot of potential energy for the next move.

rovingbroker
December 18, 2022 3:19 pm

A number of New York government entities own and/or operate helicopters which are known to emit CO2. They should stop, scrap the dirty little machines and replace them with a fleet of electric vehicles that run on 100% renewable power. Do it NOW!

https://www.helis.com/database/org/New-York-Helicopters/cn

Goose, gander and all that.

John DeFayette
Reply to  rovingbroker
December 18, 2022 4:27 pm

It’s “net zero” they’re working on, and that 15% offset part is just enough for their big il’ houses, their helos and their boats. The plebes will suck up that 85% reduction part.

Dena
December 18, 2022 3:29 pm

I could have solved that problem without all that effort. Start building Nuclear power plants now. There isn’t another way to accomplish that unless the reduce the population of New York however with the lack of law enforcement they currently have, they have made a good start on that.

RickWill
Reply to  Dena
December 18, 2022 3:54 pm

I could have solved that problem without all that effort. 

What problem would you be solving?

History will prove this generation the era of religious zealots intent on ridding the globe of the evil CO2,

AndyHce
Reply to  RickWill
December 18, 2022 8:06 pm

proxy for the Devil? possessing demons?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  RickWill
December 19, 2022 4:30 am

too bad most of us won’t be around to see society come to that realization

terry
December 18, 2022 3:46 pm

Nothing but nothing stands before ideology. You should see the socialist’s in my country stand up in Parliament and defend folks like Maduro, Chavez, the Castro’s. .

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  terry
December 18, 2022 7:00 pm

I’ll bet they know when not to use apostrophes.

RickWill
December 18, 2022 3:57 pm

New York is clearly a location that will become unlivable.

It would be worthwhile establishing a list of locations that should be considered for the stance against CO2 demonising.

John DeFayette
Reply to  RickWill
December 18, 2022 4:29 pm

Florida’s looking pretty good.

AndyHce
Reply to  John DeFayette
December 18, 2022 8:08 pm

Just wait for it: Federal primacy.

Sunsettommy
Editor
December 18, 2022 4:10 pm

Meanwhile no evidence of developing climate change danger visible anywhere…..

Must be another leftist attack in development because they are swept up in the madness to notice there is nothing to fear except yourself and your mentally ill fears of a nonexistent problem is at the forefront of your problem.

John DeFayette
December 18, 2022 4:22 pm

These were adjectives that once had some use in language. “Bold” and “aggressive” were potent and powerful before they became synonymous with “idiotic”, “uneconomical”, “suicidal”, “unimaginably impossible”, “what world do you live in?”

The green ideologues are destroying our language before our eyes.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  John DeFayette
December 19, 2022 7:42 am

Well, the Cambridge Dictionary no longer has any notion of putting forth the proper definition of “man” and “woman”…..So yes, language has indeed been corrupted big time.

Douglas Pollock
December 18, 2022 4:35 pm

We’ll have fun watching how the bureaucrats at the UN headquarters in New York enjoy their net-zero communist agenda and the blackouts in their little resilient and sustainable apartment building from which they will surely have to flee, the only good thing for New York and for the US.

AndyHce
Reply to  Douglas Pollock
December 18, 2022 8:10 pm

Depends on how long they can keep their emergency generators running. Diplomatic immunity, you know.

Beta Blocker
December 18, 2022 6:41 pm

Two near term aspects of this oncoming train wreck which bear close watch are: a) what will be done with New York City’s peaker plants; and b) what the DEC will say when new power transmission infrastructure is proposed which has the capability of connecting through the grid to gas-fired generation resources located outside New York State’s boundaries, thus violating a Climate Act provision that up-stream sources of carbon GHG emissions must be considered when regulatory approval decisions are being made concerning the state’s energy supply infrastructure.

AndyHce
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 18, 2022 8:11 pm

They can’t drink rain water and they can drink any water that originated as rain.

Pat from Kerbob
December 18, 2022 9:58 pm

More evidence for the coming climate change policy crimes against humanity trials

michel
December 19, 2022 12:49 am

For a pretty rigorous analysis of the UK situation, the implications of the move to Net Zero power generation, look here:

UK plc Power Decarbonisation – by Chris Bond

It is not going to happen. But the political class in the UK seems determined to persist in attempting it, regardless of the evidence, and in not happening it is likely to cause great economic damage and equally great hardship.

The Science and Technology Committee of the Commons has just criticized the latest insane proposal from the Climate Change Committee. This was to make all home boilers hydrogen compatible from 2026.

Never mind that there is no source of hydrogen, no pipe grid to transport it, no household pipework which is compatible with hydrogen. Never mind that even were this all to be done, the policy would have no effect whatever on global CO2 emissions.

It gets tagged with ‘tacking climate change’ and they all go weak at the knees and nod their heads, when if the country was to stand on its heads every morning for ten minutes, that would have just as much of an effect in ‘tackling climate change’, ie none.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
December 19, 2022 8:21 am

The UK Climate Change Committee live in a parallel universe. Tell them that 22m of the 27.8m homes in the UK are connected to the gas grid and they just put their fingers in their ears and say we can’t hear you.

Joseph Zorzin
December 19, 2022 4:20 am

“we’ll lower harmful emissions in the air we breathe while transforming New York’s economy, creating new jobs, and building more resilient communities”

Wow, big promises. Implication: breathing in slightly more CO2 is harmful. Transform the economy? Many corporations have left the state due to very high taxes- which will only get much higher with this battle to “save the Earth”. More resilient communities? What the hell does any of this have to do with making communities more resilient? Fewer floods and hurricanes? There is zero evidence for that.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 19, 2022 7:45 am

Gee, isn’t that nice….New Yorkers will be able to draw in cleaner air for their last breaths…as they die of the cold in dark homes and apartments!

Joseph Zorzin
December 19, 2022 4:42 am

This is vague in my memory- but didn’t NY shut down a big nuclear power facility on Long Island not long ago- or, it was in construction and not allowed to be completed?

rogercaiazza
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 19, 2022 6:25 am

New York did not shut down one big nuclear station. Incredibly they prematurely shut down two. In 1989 the state shutdown Shoreham after it had completed its startup tests. This April the state completed the shutdown of Indian Points Units 2 and 3. For the record the total of zero-emission generating capacity was over 2800 MW.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  rogercaiazza
December 19, 2022 7:17 am

Thirty-three years later, my anti-nuclear relatives in New York State still defend the patently absurd decision to shut down the Shoreham plant. More recently, they were on board with the closure of the two Indian Point reactors.

Their response to my warnings of a Climate Act / Net Zero driven energy crisis in New York generally has been to metaphorically pat me on the head and say, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 19, 2022 9:18 am

They probably prefer to see much of upstate NY turned into giant “clean and green” energy plantations. Some of the upstate landowners will like the lease payments but most people won’t be happy with their landscape being despoiled. Massachusetts has been busy shutting down their nukes too- I don’t think any are left- or not many.

Energywise
December 19, 2022 6:45 am

New York is a cess pit descending into hell – if citizens can’t be bothered to push back against their doomsday leader cult, then they deserve them

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