NY Renews is a coalition of over 370 environmental, justice, faith, labor, and community groups, and the force behind the nation’s most progressive climate law. Days after world leaders in Paris reached a historic global climate agreement in December 2015, a statewide movement was launched for the purpose of bringing good jobs and clean energy to New York. NY Renews is calling on Albany to make New York State’s climate commitments legally enforceable, ensure accountability, establish a just energy policy, and create clean energy jobs throughout the state.
The coalition led the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019, the most aggressive climate law in the country. Not only does it set legally binding emissions reductions standards to get New York completely off of fossil fuels by 2050, it also mandates that 40% of state climate and energy funding be invested in disadvantaged communities, or Black and brown, and low income communities most affected by the climate crisis.
Bringing Labor to the Climate Table
In order to meet the goals of New York’s Climate Law, we need the power of organized labor. ALIGN’s unique role in NY Renews is to engage labor unions in the coalition. We know that a just transition to a clean energy economy requires all of us—workers and their communities on the front lines of the climate crisis—to work together, hand in hand. ALIGN has written op-eds with unions, hosted worker town halls and press conferences, and put together sign-on letters showing labor union support for NY Renews’ initiatives for climate investment. ALIGN’s role is to ensure that the state meets its renewable energy goals without leaving any worker behind.
Our Fight in 2024
We are continuing to build on the progress we made with the Climate, Jobs & Justice Package we launched in 2022, a legislative package to rapidly decarbonize New York, make our state healthier and more equitable, ensure a just transition for workers, and help create an accessible, green economy for all. This year we are fighting for the passage of legislation like the NY Home Energy Affordable Transition Act (NY HEAT Act), Just Energy Transition Act (JETA), and The Climate Change Superfund Act, which all passed the Senate last year. Together, we’re going to fight to push these bills over the finish line this year.
We are also pushing for the People’s Climate Justice Budget, a $1 billion spending plan developed by and for New Yorkers. It outlines critical climate and environmental justice programs that New York must fund in 2025 as a downpayment on the more than $10 billion a year the state estimates is necessary to address the crisis at scale.
Part of the budget is to strengthen labor standards and community benefits. By investing in this spending plan, New York can raise standards in clean energy industries to match or even exceed the legacy fossil fuel power sector. This not only means economic benefits for families and communities across New York State, but also quality work, safety, and effective implementation of these projects through education and partnerships with a strong and growing union workforce.
You can learn more about the NY Renews coalition and our work at nyrenews.org.