Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

New York's Response to Climate Change

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 (leaves DEC website) 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) (leaves DEC website) 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 (leaves DEC website) 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) (leaves DEC website), 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.

Timeline of Milestones

Click the graphic below (leaves DEC website) to scroll through a timeline of milestone actions, policies, and impacts that have influenced New York State's climate change response.

screenshot of timeline title slide

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Value of Carbon Guidance

The Climate Act directed DEC to establish a value of carbon for use by State agencies. This guidance document (PDF) establishes a value of carbon, based on an estimate of net damages incurred as a result of climate change. The value of carbon guidance should be used by State agencies in decision-making and as a tool to demonstrate the societal value of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

New York State is a member of a multi-state cooperative effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (leaves DEC website). RGGI is the first market-based regulatory program to cap and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in each participating state. Over time, the cap declines, so that CO2 emissions decrease in a planned and predictable way. Since its inception, RGGI emissions have been reduced by more than 50% and raised over $4 billion to invest in local communities.


The transportation sector is one of New York State's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The state is mitigating transportation sector emissions by supporting electric vehicles and charging equipment. Investments are also being made in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, reducing traffic congestion, and upgrading and expanding public transportation systems.

New York State initiatives to reduce transportation emissions include:

  • Medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) Memorandum of Understanding: New York joins 14 States and Washington D.C. to commit to working collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric MHD vehicles. The mutual goal is to ensure that 100% of all new MHD vehicle sales will be zero-emission by 2050, with an interim target of 30% MHD ZEV sales by 2030.
  • State ZEV Requirements: Chapter 423 of the Laws of 2021 requires all sales or leases of new light-duty passenger vehicles in New York to be ZEVs by 2035, all sales or leases of new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to be ZEVs by 2045, and all off-road vehicle and equipment sales to be zero emission by 2035. DEC is expediting the regulatory process to implement this legislation and turn those goals into progress in fully transitioning to new zero-emission cars and trucks. California's action of finalizing the Advanced Clean Cars II regulation unlocked New York's ability to adopt the same regulation.
  • Multi-million-dollar investments in increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations available to the public throughout the State through the EVolve NY (leaves DEC website) Program, as well as rebates and grant funding for public and private organizations to install charging equipment in their communities such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Charge Ready (leaves DEC website) Program and DEC ZEV Infrastructure Grant (Municipalities only).
  • The Clean Transportation New York Beneficiary Mitigation Plan details greenhouse gas emission reduction and air quality improvement projects to be funded by the $127.7 million received by New York State from the Volkswagen Settlement. Projects in this plan include replacing diesel vehicles with electric models and increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations available across the State.
  • Charge NY (leaves DEC website) is a New York State initiative to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road. The initiative connects New Yorkers with rebates for electric vehicles and charging stations.
  • The Transportation Alternatives Program (leaves DEC website) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (leaves DEC website) made $110 million in funding available to New York State public entities to support bicycle, pedestrian, multi-use path, traffic congestion reduction, and transportation-related projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Additional information about New York's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from heavy-duty vehicles and advance low and zero-emission vehicles is available through the DEC Division of Air Resources.

New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting

New York must ramp up energy generation from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction and zero-emission electricity directives of the Climate Act. The Office of Renewable Energy Siting (leaves DEC website) streamlines the permitting process for major renewable energy facilities to help meet the state's renewable energy directives while ensuring the protection of the environment with consideration of all pertinent social, economic, and environmental factors (including environmental justice) and providing the opportunity for local government and community participation in the permitting process.

Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience

Community Risk and Resiliency Act

The Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) requires applicants for permits or funding in certain programs to demonstrate that future physical climate risk due to sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding had been considered in project design and that DEC considers incorporating these factors into certain facility-siting regulations. The Climate Act amended CRRA to include an expanded scope that must consider all future climate hazards, not only sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding, for applicable programs. CRRA amendments also require DEC to take action to promote climate adaptation and resilience.

CRRA Resilience Guidance Documents and Model Laws

DEC and Department of State (DOS), have developed guidance on implementing New York's Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). This includes the use of natural resources and natural processes to enhance community resilience to sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding impacts from climate change. The implementation guidance documents help local governments, DEC, and other State agencies to select and plan natural resilience measures and to consider sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding impacts from climate change in the permitting and siting of projects, including public infrastructure projects. DOS also released model laws (leaves DEC website) local governments can adopt to help increase community resilience to sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, and coastal erosion.

New York State Agency Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Plans

DEC is working in collaboration with other State agencies to develop climate change vulnerability assessments and climate change adaptation plans. These will help determine how climate change impacts are affecting agency operations, mission, and ability to provide public services, and then identify and adopt strategies and actions to help agencies adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change.

Interagency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Work Group

The Interagency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Work Group (ICARWG) coordinates climate change adaptation and resilience efforts among State agencies. The ICARWG brings agency staff together to coordinate and collaborate on the planning, design, and implementation of State agency actions to foster effective adaptation and resilience to climate change.

Advancing Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EbA) is the use of natural or nature-based solutions specifically designed to provide increased resilience and protection to communities in the face of climate change impacts. State agencies have developed the following action plans and programs to advance EbA in New York:

  • The Open Space Conservation Plan is a blueprint for the State's land conservation efforts. The conservation of open space is an important part of the State's climate action because of the services that ecosystems, like forests and wetlands, provide such as carbon sequestration and protection from flooding and storm surge.
  • The New York Ocean Action Plan identifies actions for increasing the resilience of ocean resources to the impacts of climate change.
  • The Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2021-2025 addresses the needs and challenges of communities along the Hudson River resulting from climate change impacts on the region such as increasing flooding from strong storms and inundation risks from sea-level rise.
  • The Great Lakes Action Agenda is a plan to conserve, restore, protect, and enhance New York's Great Lakes lands and waters, including dynamic nature-based solutions that are most able to adapt to a changing climate.

Climate-Adaptive Communities in the Hudson River Estuary

Local communities within the Hudson River Estuary face more frequent and severe climate change impacts, such as flooding, heat waves, and short-term drought. A climate-adaptive community anticipates and manages climate risks, recovers quickly from extreme weather events, and responds productively as the climate changes. DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program provides local communities with funding and technical assistance for climate change adaptation planning and enhancing climate resilience by protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, like floodplains, forests, and wetlands. To learn more, visit Climate-adaptive Communities in the Hudson River Estuary.

Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project

The Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve's Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project (leaves DEC website) is a long-term initiative dedicated to the use of nature-based management practices to improve resilience to climate change along the shores of New York's Hudson River.

Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative

Resilience and adaptation to climate change are essential to shoreline communities and infrastructure in New York as impacts, such as flooding from increased precipitation and extreme storms, become more frequent and severe. In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State created the Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative (REDI) (leaves DEC website) to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster resilient economic development in Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence Counties. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million to benefit communities and improve resilience in flood-prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) In New York State

The New York State Department of Health report, Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) in New York State (leaves DEC website), evaluates how New York's changing climate has impacted public health. The report applies a climate change vulnerability assessment to public health impacts for various higher-risk populations and provides recommendations for actions to help public health departments incorporate findings into planning and decision making to improve health outcomes in the face of climate change.

Tidal Wetlands Guidance Document

The State released a Tidal Wetlands Guidance Document (PDF) to promote the use of living shorelines along the coast. Living shorelines are a nature-based approach to coastal adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Specifically, the document provides guidance on how to issue permits for living shorelines in New York's marine and coastal district waters by considering different factors, such as sea level rise.

New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms & Emergencies

After Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast of the United States in 2012, causing billions of dollars in damage, supply chain disruptions, and tragic loss of life, New York launched the New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms & Emergencies (NYS RISE) (leaves DEC website). Led by New York University and Stony Brook University, NYS RISE was created to serve as a hub of research and education on emergency preparedness, as well as a clearinghouse of information regarding extreme weather and natural disasters. NY RISE brings together academic leaders, government officials, national experts, and emergency response leaders to conduct research and provide scientific information and resources that will lead to the development of comprehensive plans that policymakers and stakeholders can use to better protect communities from extreme weather events.

New York State Hazard Mitigation Plan

First drafted in 2014 and updated in 2019, the New York State Hazard Mitigation Plan (leaves DEC website) identifies and evaluates risks and vulnerabilities associated with severe weather and climate events, and resulting disasters, and leads to the development of long-term strategies for risk reduction.

Resilient NY Program

The Resilient NY program was launched in 2018 to improve community resiliency to extreme weather events that result in flooding and ice jams. The program develops state-of-the-art studies to reduce flooding and ice jam formations, and improve riparian ecology on high-priority flood-prone watersheds throughout New York State. These flood resiliency studies, implemented by DEC and the state's Office of General Services, will incorporate the latest climate change forecasts and assess ice jam hazards where they have been identified as a threat to public health and safety.

Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID

The ClimAID (leaves DEC website) assessment provides information on climate change impacts and adaptation for eight sectors in New York State: water resources, coastal zones, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and public health. Within each sector, climate risks, vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies are identified. ClimAID was initially released in 2011, with a supplement including updated climate projections adopted in 2014. An updated statewide climate impacts assessment (leaves DEC website) is due to be released in early 2023.

Extreme Heat Action Plan

The Governor directed the DEC and NYSERDA to develop an extreme heat action plan (EHAP) in response to more frequent and intense extreme heat events driven by climate change. The EHAP Work Group, comprised of 70 agency experts and staff, representing 22 agencies, will deliver a first-of-its-kind comprehensive State plan for addressing present and future extreme heat by:

  • developing an extreme heat adaptation plan to address the structural drivers of extreme heat and heat inequities;
  • establishing a comprehensive State response to extreme heat emergencies as part of the State Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan;
  • directing and coordinating investments to benefit disadvantaged communities by creating a comprehensive inventory of State programs, initiatives and services, and analyzing how these programs benefit heat-vulnerable disadvantaged communities; and
  • expediting and implementing immediate action for this summer to scale existing efforts to address the most acute extreme heat-related impacts and needs.

In July 2022, the EHAP Work Group released a report of interim recommendations (PDF) that includes actions for immediate implementation to help prepare communities for a heat emergency and address acute heat-related impacts and needs.

Other New York State Climate Actions

Many of New York's actions, programs, and initiatives in response to climate change address both greenhouse gas mitigation and improving adaptation and resilience to worsening climate impacts. Some examples include:

Climate Smart Communities

Established in 2009, the state's interagency Climate Smart Communities (leaves DEC website) program provides guidance and technical assistance to municipalities to take locally driven action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change impacts. The Climate Smart Communities Coordinators program provides local governments with free technical assistance for planning and implementing these actions.

Governor's Executive Order 22 - Leading By Example: Directing State Agencies to Adopt a Sustainability and Decarbonization Program

Executive Order 22 (EO22) (leaves DEC website) recognizes the position of New York State agencies to lead by example in taking actions that contribute to meeting the greenhouse gas emission reduction directives of New York's Climate Act, and improve the resilience of state resources to the impacts of climate change. EO22 is a directive to New York State agencies, departments, and authorities to incorporate conserving, improving, and protecting natural resources and the environment; preventing water, air, and land pollution; and enhancing the health, safety, and welfare of residents into the policies applied to their facilities, operations, and procedures. EO22 establishes a GreenNY Council comprised of leaders of state agencies, departments and authorities, including the DEC, that will oversee the implementation of the Order, and guide State entities in meeting its requirements.
EO22 calls for New York State entities to:
• use sustainable purchasing specifications that consider the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution prevention, water conservation, low-impact development, and climate resilience design practices for the procurement of commodities, services, and technology;
• reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the purchase of electricity generated by renewable sources, measures that produce energy savings in facilities and buildings (as outlined in the BuildSmart 2025 program (leaves DEC website)), use of construction materials with low embodied carbon, transition of fleets to zero-emission vehicles, and inclusion of distributed energy resources (i.e., solar, wind) and energy storage;
• adopt waste reduction goals and plans for diverting waste from landfills;
• incorporate green infrastructure concepts into development projects to improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff;
• incorporate climate projections and adaptation strategies in new infrastructure and building projects, and utilize resilience practices such as nature-based solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change;
• support native biodiversity, protect threatened and endangered species, and enhance climate resilience and natural carbon storage on state-owned properties, and
• lower the impact of their operations on disadvantaged communities, and prioritize sustainability upgrades (i.e., electrifying heating and cooling systems) to facilities located in disadvantaged communities.

U.S. Climate Alliance

New York State is a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance (leaves DEC website), a bipartisan coalition of state governments committed to working collaboratively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change consistent with the goals set by the Paris Agreement (leaves DEC website). Each member of the U.S. Climate Alliance commits to developing new policies and accelerating the implementation of existing policies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and promote clean energy deployment at the state and federal level while promoting equity, environmental justice, and a just economic transition.

Climate Action Funding

Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act

The 2022 Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act (Environmental Bond Act) (leaves DEC website) was passed by New York voters in 2022. The Environmental Bond Act makes $4.2 billion available to provide resources to protect New York's communities and the environment, with 35 percent (and a goal of 40 percent) of benefits dedicated to the state's Disadvantaged Communities. The investments made by the Environmental Bond Act could support and create 84,000 green jobs in New York State.

Funding from the Environmental Bond Act goes towards several project types:
• Water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, including municipal stormwater and green infrastructure projects to support the protection of drinking water sources and the reduction of agricultural nutrient runoff and harmful algal blooms.
• Climate change mitigation and reducing air pollution through projects that increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, purchase zero-emission school buses, reduce urban heat islands, and protect natural and working lands that sequester carbon and mitigate methane emissions.
• Protecting communities from climate change impacts by investing in resilient infrastructure and voluntary property buyouts, waterfront restoration and revitalization, and flood risk reduction projects such as raising and/or relocating flood-prone critical infrastructure, roads, and bridges.
• Protecting and improving access to nature through open space land conservation projects, protecting farmlands, and increasing recreational opportunities.

Environmental Protection Fund

New York State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) is a source of funding for projects that protect the environment and enhance communities through the conservation of open space, waste reduction and recycling programs, and restoring habitats. EPF funds are distributed to multiple state agencies for initiatives that advance the state's climate change agenda, including the DEC Climate Smart Communities Grant Program and Municipal Zero-Emission Vehicle Program.

New York Green Bank

New York Green Bank (leaves DEC website) is a State-sponsored, specialized financial entity that works with the private sector to increase investments into New York's clean energy markets, creating a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable energy system. Projects supported by the New York Green Bank include solar, wind, and other renewable energy generation technologies, residential and commercial/industrial energy efficiency measures, electricity load reduction, on-site clean generation, and similar projects that support the state's clean energy agenda and greenhouse gas emission reduction directives.

More about New York's Response to Climate Change:

  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8448.
  • Contact for this Page
  • Office of Climate Change
    625 Broadway, Ninth Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-1030
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions