New York’s ‘Green New Deal’ Is Political Show Pretending to Be Environmentally Conscious

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay
August 21, 2020

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act demands wildly unrealistic energy goals and, rather than common-sense policy, is riddled with blind idealism and headline-grabbing rhetoric. The new law calls for 70 percent – up from 50 percent – of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by the year 2030, and also aims to force New York into total carbon neutrality by 2040, which has been part of the governor’s Green New Deal agenda.

While these proposals make for political-rally soundbites, they ignore major obstacles and actually risk harming the environment. According to the Empire Center, New York is responsible for less than one-half of 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If these changes were to take place, New York would only stand to reduce global emissions by 0.4 percent at the expense of billions and billions of dollars, and a massive disruption to our current way of life.

Millions of families and businesses are just starting to begin the years-long process of recovering from COVID-19’s economic devastation. State and local economies remain in peril and face tremendous uncertainty. But New York’s far-left politicians are determined to implement out-of-touch, costly environmental over-regulation that will be fatal to the state’s already fragile business environment.

Not surprisingly, the act was passed without a fiscal-implication analysis. In other words, the governor and his legislative allies have absolutely no idea the cost of what was signed into law. However, estimates touch close to $50 billion in capital costs for turbines needed to generate 9,000 megawatts of wind-borne electricity by the year 2035. An additional $4 billion per year would also be needed to cover operating costs and price subsidies – with most of the financial burden falling on ratepayers north of New York City.

Further, the new mandates risk putting New York at a substantial competitive disadvantage. Enormous capital costs will be needed by industry actors, and those that cannot comply will face being penalized into nonexistence. Others may simply choose to relocate to states with lower costs. New York’s outmigration problem will be exacerbated by manufacturers and businesses fleeing the state’s cumbersome regulations. The tax base will continue to dwindle, and jobs will continue to disappear.

For ratepayers, costs will soar from the influx of new capital expenses. And, there’s no assurance that weather-dependent wind and solar power will be reliable enough to even guarantee their energy needs will be met. California, for example, is experiencing rolling blackouts and an energy shortage as they try to rush the transition to unreliable wind and solar energy.

There are two virtual hearings with respect to the act coming up in October as the state Department of Environmental Conservation contemplates its implementation. I urge anyone using, and paying for, New York’s energy to weigh in and demand a better plan. The environment must be preserved and protected, but masquerading baseless regulations as environmental conservation is dangerous and, ultimately, worse for all of us.

There are countless unknown associated with this misguided environmental legislation, but one thing is certain: The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will make our climb to economic recovery impossible.