Climate Action Council Meets March 09 2020

Politico New York Energy's Marie J. French (2020 03 04) reported:

[On March 3rd,] In a low-key first meeting in a DEC building in Albany, the council tasked with developing a detailed plan of achieving the state's lofty climate goals approved its bylaws, heard an alarming-but-hopeful presentation from a climate scientist and shared some priorities for the work ahead. Co-chairs Alicia Barton, the chief executive officer of NYSERDA, and Basil Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, both emphasized the challenges and opportunities presented by the state's new law. The next meeting is expected April 2 in the New York City area. Seggos indicated he wants to stack meetings earlier in the year until the advisory panels are up and running. While the council meetings will be subject to open meetings requirements, advisory panels the council is tasked with forming will not be. Some members of the council want to see speedier progress on making recommendations than the two-year timeframe for a draft scoping plan. Peter Iwanowicz, who is the head of Environmental Advocates of New York but said he was participating as an individual, urged more public engagement with meetings held throughout the state even before a plan is developed. He also pushed for a 10-day notice of meetings when feasible.

Seggos said there's an anticipation that the council's important work will require dedicated staffing, which the bylaws allow for. "We envision...we're going to need more firepower," he said. …Barton said many recommendations had been received on membership for advisory panels, which have not yet been convened by the council, and said robust stakeholder engagement is expected. The bylaws urge the panels to reach consensus but they can make recommendations with minority opinions included.

The Times Union reports: Quantifying current air emissions is inexact now, let alone 30 years ago, noted Paul Shepson, dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the State University at Stony Brook. That speaks to the challenges in establishing baselines from which to work.

NYPIRG wants the council to create a metrics scorecard to track the state's progress on its climate and renewable goals. NY Renews also distributed an open letter to the council urging an even faster timeline for action and the importance of prioritizing environmental justice communities.

On March 4th, Climate Action Council co-chairs, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton, went on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom with Dave Lombardo.

Other resources: Sign up for emails from the Climate Action Council and view the video of the inaugural meeting.

Also, thank you to NY-GEO member Joanne Coons, who was at the meeting and took some good notes and the photo below.