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The impacts of climate change are being felt across New York State, from the ocean beaches of Long Island to the Great Lakes. Without immediate action, these impacts will continue to intensify into the future. Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) will reduce the magnitude of future climate change impacts, while taking action for climate change adaptation and resilience will help communities and ecosystems address the inevitable impacts of climate change, like increased heat waves, sea level rise, and flooding, already underway. Successful greenhouse gas mitigation, adaptation, and resilience will take a statewide effort across all State agencies and within all local communities.
This page provides a summary of key actions, plans, reports, and initiatives that focus on advancing greenhouse gas mitigation, climate change adaptation and resilience, or both, but is not intended to be a complete list of all of New York State's climate actions in response to climate change.
DEC Office of Climate Change
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of Climate Change (OCC) was formed to develop and implement policies, programs, regulations, and initiatives to combat climate change. These OCC efforts include helping New York communities, agencies and other organizations reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and also adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts already underway and anticipated in the future. OCC is an office of DEC's Executive Division and is organized into three sections:
- Community Engagement works to inform, support, and empower local governments and communities as they reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to unavoidable impacts, especially through coordination of the Climate Smart Communities program and grants.
- Greenhouse Gas Mitigation uses the best available science to develop regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, establish greenhouse gas accounting practices, conduct research and demonstration projects, and to aid in the development of climate change plans.
- Climate Change Adaptation and Communication conducts climate change impact analysis, coordinates climate adaptation planning, coordinates communication and public outreach, and supports the development of climate change resilience and adaptation policies and strategies to help New York respond to current and future impacts of climate change.
Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act
Signed into law in 2019, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) is New York State's flagship climate change statute. The Climate Act requires New York to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. In addition, the Climate Act includes requirements for renewable energy generation and end-use energy savings, and calls for 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2040 for New York State, with 70 percent renewable energy by 2030. The statute creates a Climate Action Council charged with developing a scoping plan of recommendations to meet these directives and place New York on a path toward carbon neutrality. The Climate Act also includes improving community adaptation and resilience to climate change by amending the state's Community Risk and Resiliency Act, as well as a strong focus on a just transition to a low-carbon economy for disadvantaged communities.
The Climate Act has created:
- New York's Scoping Plan - The Climate Act formed a Climate Action Council (Council) tasked with developing a framework for how the State will achieve the objectives of the Climate Act. The Council released a draft scoping plan in December 2021 with a public comment period that included 11 public hearings held throughout the state. On December 19, 2022, the Council released a final Scoping Plan which outlines recommended policies and actions to help New York meet the directives of the Climate Act. As required under the Climate Act, the Council will update the Scoping Plan every five years to ensure the plan continues to meet the State's climate directives.
- Disadvantaged Communities Barriers and Opportunities Report and Disadvantaged Communities Criteria - The Disadvantaged Communities Barriers and Opportunities Report (PDF), required by the Climate Act, analyzes why some communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and air pollution and have unequal access to clean energy. The report recommends actions for New York State agencies to design climate protection and clean energy programs through a lens of justice. The recommendations are incorporated into New York's Scoping Plan. The Climate Act charged the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) with the development of criteria (leaves DEC website) to identify disadvantaged communities to ensure that frontline and otherwise underserved communities benefit from the state's historic transition to cleaner, greener sources of energy, reduced pollution, and cleaner air, and economic opportunities.