Victory: New York Passes Historic Climate Change Law

In July 2019, nurses and workers across New York State won a major victory with the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This ambitious legislation was born out of NY Renews, a coalition of over 70 community, environmental, labor, social justice and political organizations that NYSNA members helped form in 2016. NY Renews helped draft the legislation, and NYSNA lobbied along with coalition members like 1199 SEIU and the Working Families Party to pass it into law.

Thanks to this law, New York has the most ambitious climate targets in the country: 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also lays out provisions to plan a just transition for workers in carbon-based jobs, and to fund disadvantaged communities hurt by climate change.

NYSNA Board Member Nella Pineda-Marcon, RN said, “As nurses, we must work to protect the health of all New Yorkers, and passing strong climate change legislation helps in our mission. Now we must continue working to enforce the law; to ensure polluters pay their fair share and New York’s most vulnerable communities and patients get the environmental justice they deserve.”

Nurses have a powerful role in the climate movement: as union members fighting for good green jobs, and as frontline caregivers who see firsthand the effects of an unhealthy environment on our communities. We will continue to fight to ensure New York meets its bold new climate targets and creates great union jobs in the process.