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The Worker Institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to address issues related to confronting systemic inequality and building a fair economy, robust democracy and just society. We will share opinion, analysis, research, data, insights and training from our faculty and staff.

Lara Skinner Named to Just Transition Working Group

Lara Skinner, executive director of The Worker Institute at the Cornell University ILR School has been named to the Just Transition Working Group that will support the implementation of New York state’s national leading climate law. The working group will help inform equitable transition for New York’s workforce to a clean energy future.

In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which puts New York on a path to achieve a zero-emissions electricity system by 2040 and an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The New York State Climate Action Council is a 22-member committee that will prepare a Scoping Plan to achieve the State’s bold clean energy and climate agenda as outlined in the protection act. The Just Transition Working Group and six advisory panels will advise and give recommendations to the State Climate Action Council.

“I’m very excited that we are represented in this working group,” Skinner said. “This is very important legislation and now the hard work happens as we figure out how we make New York's ambitious Climate Act real and do it in a way that protects working people and supports the creation of high-quality, family and community sustaining jobs in the new clean energy economy. I am excited to be able to lend my expertise.”

Skinner's research, writing, and labor education work focuses on the labor and employment impacts of climate change. She heads the Labor Leading on Climate Initiative at the Worker Institute. The Initiative advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises. 

The Just Transition Working Group will help ensure an equitable transition for New York’s workforce toward the state’s renewable energy future and will develop a forward-looking jobs report, identify workforce training needs, and assess opportunities to put former power plant sites to productive use.

AdditionalCornell faculty are involved with the panels and working group. They include Robert Howarth, David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Julie C. Suarez, the associate dean for Land-Grant Affairs, Peter Woodbury, senior research associate, School of Integrative Plant Science, Soil and Crop Sciences, Cornell University, Mary Beth McEwen, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Oneida County, and others” Skinner said. “It’s great to have that network of people from Cornell to tap into and to use each other's expertise to help the state with this work.”

The Climate Action Council, co-chaired by State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Acting President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority  Doreen Harris, announced the appointment of members at the Aug. 24 Climate Action Council meeting.

Visit for the lists of Advisory Panel members and members of the Just Transition Working Group.

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