Today, the State of Illinois took a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, passing landmark, equity-centered climate legislation. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, SB2408, significantly ramps up investments in the renewable energy sector, sets decarbonization timelines for the fossil fuel industry, prioritizes pollution reduction in environmental justice communities, and incentivizes workforce development for underserved populations and a just transition for coal communities. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act positions Illinois as a leader on state climate policy.
Illinois’ commitment to lead comes at a critical moment for taking action to protect the economic well-being and overall health of our state. The Nature Conservancy’s Climate Assessment for Illinois foretells long-term, serious effects on urban and rural communities across the state. Projected impacts from climate change include periods of extreme heat, increased precipitation, and more intense storms. The impact on people could be devastating. Because climate change will inevitably exacerbate existing stressors and health disparities, communities that are already more vulnerable, such as low-income communities and those of color, are also likely to suffer disproportionate harm.
The Nature Conservancy applauds the work of Governor Pritzker, legislative leaders and stakeholders, including hundreds of organizations that comprised the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition for reaching this historic agreement. These groups worked tirelessly to demand an equitable, nation-leading climate and energy bill that creates good jobs and delivers clear timeframes for achieving a 100% clean energy future. The Nature Conservancy fully supports the initiative to put Illinois on the path to a 100% clean energy future and to create a framework for building resilient communities and an equitable economy.