Biden risks missing important second target by focusing on voting rights


If you had asked clean energy experts last summer which state would be the first to ban natural gas in an effort to fight climate change, they almost certainly would have answered California. After all, California was the first in the country to restrict tailpipe emissions, establish a national carbon market, and set the first zero-emission vehicle target.

However, when California’s new building code was announced in August, it rejected a gas ban, shocking many climate activists who expected another first for the state. New York now looks set to claim the title after Governor Kathy Hochul said on Wednesday she intended to propose new legislation banning the use of natural gas in new construction. The following is the announcement.

Hochul’s plan would require all new building construction to reach zero emissions by 2027. For most people, that means any home or office built after that date will use electrified heat, like heat pumps, rather than gas boilers, which pump steam through radiators. By 2030, at least 2 million New York City homes will be “electrified” in this way, according to Hochul’s plan.

“To make real progress on climate change, it’s time to tackle major sources of pollution head-on,” Hochul said in a press release. “This transformative investment… will consolidate New York’s status at the forefront of climate action.”

Yet, if passed, Hochul’s plan would significantly reduce New York’s global warming emissions, which were equivalent to nearly 380 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019, according to a government report. Buildings contributed 32% of those emissions, according to the report, making it the state’s largest source of greenhouse gases when comparing economic sectors.

These goals, however, are far from a sealed deal. Such a plan is yet to be adopted by the New York State Assembly. But Hochul’s backing increases the chances of that happening in the state’s Democratic-majority legislature. Lawmakers have already introduced a bill that would require electrification of new buildings from 2023, and some climate activists have criticized Hochul for not adopting this stricter timetable.

Supporters also argue that a gas ban is necessary for New York to meet its mandatory climate goals. The 2019 law requires the state to reduce its electricity sector to net zero emissions by 2040 and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 85% below 1990 levels by 2050 A state analysis last summer found New York’s emissions trajectory was far from on track. achieve these goals.

It is unclear how much opposition Hochul’s proposal will face from the fossil fuel and utility industries, which have received strong signals over the past three years that oil and gas projects may no longer be welcome in the state. National Grid, one of the state’s largest utilities, opposed New York City’s gas ban, but did not comment on Hochul’s proposal, E&E News reported.

But Consolidated Edison, another major New York utility, offered support for the measure. In a point-of-sale statement, a spokesperson for Consolidated Edison called Hochul’s proposal “a sensible and necessary step on the road to carbon neutrality by 2050.” This is a significant change from an energy supplier who, less than two years ago, was fighting the government of the day. Andrew Cuomo for failing to clear a major pipeline that would have delivered fracking natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York and Long Island. That’s it for Today’s Climate this week. I’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday.

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  • Biden risks missing important second target by focusing on voting rights
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