The council tasked with creating a blueprint for the state to follow to reach its ambitious climate goals met on Monday to finalize the plan in a 19-3 vote. In 2019, the New York State Legislature passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act which set goals for the state to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030 and by 2050, the state must reach zero-net emissions. Raya Salter, founder and executive director of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center and member of the Climate Action Council, told Capital Tonight that the plan is achievable if the state remains “focused and not distracted by false solutions,” which Salter argues are tactics by industry to stay in business longer.

The council was made up of environmentalists, state agency leaders and energy industry leaders. Howarth says that despite coming from different backgrounds, the council had “honest discussions” and the 19-3 vote in favor of the scoping plan showed “strong, overwhelming support” for a plan “that puts us on the path to meet the goals of the CLCPA.”

The plan does include New Yorkers to transition to electric alternatives like heat pumps or electric vehicles. Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University and member of the Climate Action Council, argues that more needs to be done to offer subsidies for people who can’t afford to make the change or offer more low interest loans. Salter adds that “the costs of inaction are far more than the cost of action.”