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Labor Leading on Climate Initiative

Union woman worker wearing a hard hat and standing in front of solar panels

The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises.

Originally published in Worker Institute Blog.

Climate Jobs Program

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Combating climate change can lead to job creation, according to a report by The Worker Institute at Cornell.

Unions, workers’ organizations and policy experts met in 2015 to develop strategies for a New York state-based research, education and policy initiative named Labor Leading on Climate.

The report from this initiative was co-written by Lara Skinner, research associate and educator at the Global Labor Institute, and J. Mijin Cha, a Worker Institute fellow.

“A Climate Jobs Program for New York State: Reversing Inequality, Combating Climate Change” recommends job creation and economic development strategies to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution and confront the climate crisis.

“New York State can and should act now to protect New Yorkers from the worst impacts of climate change while also addressing growing economic inequality,” the report states.

“An ambitious and audacious climate jobs agenda creates good, high-road jobs for communities across the state and drastically reduces greenhouse gas pollution,” the report said.

“By adopting a Climate Jobs agenda, New York will lead the country and chart the way to a low-carbon, equitable economy.”

Report recommendations include:

Building Sector

  • Retrofit public schools statewide to reach 100 percent of their energy efficiency potential by 2025
  • Reduce energy use in all public buildings by 40 percent by 2025
  • Streamline and expand access to residential retrofit programs

Transportation Sector

  • Bring New York City public transit to a state of good repair and expand service
  • Construct or improve high-speed passenger rail corridors between Albany and Buffalo, and between Albany and Montreal
  • Establish rapid transit bus program

Energy Sector

  • Install solar energy on 100 million square feet of public school rooftops through the New York Power Authority by 2025
  • Install additional solar projects through the New York Power Authority, the publicly-owned power utility.