The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act—New York’s Groundbreaking Climate Solutions Law
Since the 1970s, advocates have been working to move the United States towards clean and renewable sources of energy for our homes, cars, buildings, and industries. In recent decades, there has been a growing understanding that this work must be done in a way that also combats environmental racism.
Environmental justice communities are neighborhoods and towns, most often low-income communities of color, that have been systematically exposed to unjust levels of toxic pollution. These communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, bearing a disproportionate burden of its devastating impacts. The movement to center the climate fight around issues of equity and justice is gaining strength, uniting nations and citizens in the common push for a just transition to a clean and sustainable energy future built around renewables.
In the summer of 2019, after four years of advocacy by Catskill Mountainkeeper and the NY Renews coalition, the New York State Legislature passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a sweeping law creating aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction targets along with a framework for meeting them. The CLCPA sets clear checkpoints for curbing emissions by shifting energy generation to renewables, sets economy-wide emissions reductions targets, and directs the benefits of clean-energy spending toward disadvantaged communities.
Signed into law in July 2019 and endorsed by climate allies like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Al Gore, the CLCPA places New York at the forefront of the global fight to slash fossil fuel use and begin the work of ensuring a just transition to a 100% renewable energy future.