ILLINOIS (September 15, 2021) – Illinois has taken bold action to address the climate emergency facing birds and people by passing the most equitable clean energy jobs bill of its kind in the nation. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408) passed the Illinois House and Senate with bipartisan support and was signed into law today by Governor Pritzker.
“Birds are telling us that the time to act on climate change is now, and today Illinois has stepped up to the challenge,” said Michelle Parker, Vice President and Executive Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “This bill gets us closer to reaching Audubon’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions to protect birds and people by setting Illinois on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, while creating jobs for Black and Brown communities that too often are on the frontline of our climate crisis.”
Audubon’s science found that two-thirds of North American birds, including iconic Illinois birds like the Bobolink and Cerulean Warbler, are at-risk of extinction if we don’t take steps to address rising global temperatures caused by increased pollution. The same climate-related threats, like fire, drought, and heat waves that endanger birds endanger people, too, and these climate impacts are disproportionately borne by low-income communities and communities of color.
The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act will:
Set Illinois on a path to a 100 percent clean energy future by 2050 and deliver 100 percent carbon-free power by 2045, by phasing out coal and fossil gas and closing the nation’s 7th largest polluter by 2045.
Add thousands of equitable jobs to the state’s clean energy industries by investing more than $80 million annually for job creation in Black and Brown communities and immediately opening the state’s closed solar incentive programs.
Invest in low-income communities to address clean energy inequities, by providing free solar and guaranteed savings for low-income families and a $40 million grant program for communities where nuclear or fossil fuel- generators and mines have or will close.
For three years, Audubon Great Lakes and its members mobilized as part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) in support of a clean energy bill in Illinois. Audubon Great Lakes thanks members from across Illinois who sent more than 4,600 letters to their state lawmakers alerting them of the unique threats birds face from climate change, and urging them to make comprehensive clean energy legislation a priority.
Illinois joins California, Colorado, Hawaii, Guam, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Puerto Rico, Virginia Washington, and Washington D.C. in setting 100 percent clean energy standards. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is the first of its kind to tackle climate change while advancing environmental justice and equitable climate solutions for the most at-risk communities.
Audubon Great Lakes applauds Illinois legislators and Governor J.B. Pritzker who came together to move Illinois towards a cleaner future.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.
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