An initial draft of the state climate plan by the Climate Action Council won’t be released until the end of the month. As expected, many key questions are not answered. A chapter that may deal with carbon pricing has not yet been released to council members. Some initial comments are below.
The plan largely avoids putting a clear pricetag on the cost of transition, though state staff has generated a number of reports showing how it will provide significant economic and jobs benefits to the state’s residents.
The draft fails to call for a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants
So far DEC is contending that the new climate law does not apply to existing fossil fuel facilities even when they reapply for permits.
The council wants to defer to the PSC to decide what technologies qualify as emissions-free in the electric sector.
The council punted on issues such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas for more discussion in 2022.
The draft endorses a low-carbon fuel standard which includes the use of biodiesel.
The plan supports electrification of building heat and a decommissioning (timeline??) of the gas distribution system. The Council argues that methane may be needed for industrial use and that economic development may require the use of renewable natural gas.
The Council recommends legislation to allow (NOT REQUIRE?) for building codes in 2024 to ban fossil fuel heat and hot water appliances in new single-family and low-rise multifamily construction and over four-story multifamily construction by 2027. The PSC should also prohibit new gas connections for existing buildings by 2024.
Replacements for heat and hot water with fossil fuel appliances would be barred for single-family and low-rise residential buildings with under 50 units in 2030 and for larger buildings by 2035.
The next draft to the council is due on Dec. 10. The council meets again on Dec. 20 to take a vote. It is unclear what issues the non-government members of the council will push if any for a stand-alone vote. Once the plan is released by Jan. 1, there would be six public hearings over six months. Final action is not required until after the next Governor is elected – who would decide what to do with the recommendations.