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Democrats proving debate around climate action not as simple as it seems

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul and the state’s Legislature leaders are facing off on the issue of the state’s climate transition, which is expected to cost billions of dollars annually.

Hochul included a Cap & Invest program in her executive budget, which is a pollution credits scheme through which polluters can help pay for the transition’s enormous tab.

However, until wind, solar, and other renewables become more attainable, average New Yorkers will still bear the financial burden. To mitigate the cost for consumers, the Governor proposed changing how the state measures methane in the environment from a 20-year period to a 100-year period. Environmentalists are angry, saying that the Governor and other officials are “gutting” the state’s climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed in 2019.

In contrast, the fossil fuel industry supports this change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that dissipates faster than carbon dioxide. Measuring methane over 100 years rather than 20 years would make it seem less harmful in the short term.

The state DEC Commissioner and NYSERDA’s CEO said the Governor instructed them to look at the affordability of Cap & Invest, generate revenue to offset the transition’s cost, and keep the entire system affordable. The Climate Action Council’s scoping plan released in December used the 20-year methane metrics.

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