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Climate change grant programs can provide multiple benefits, including improved air quality, lower electricity costs, improved health outcomes, and green job opportunities. However, these benefits often fail to reach low-income communities of color—even though these communities tend to live in the most polluted neighborhoods and stand to greatly benefit from the improved environmental and economic conditions that clean energy resources can provide. Climate change grant programs represent one way to level the playing field and make clean energy benefits reach all communities, but they must be designed intentionally with equity. Grant programs must clearly define their social equity goals and develop evaluation criteria to track success. The analysis should indicate the strengths and areas for improvement in meeting equity goals and should be used to inform the direction of the program moving forward. Programs must plan proactively to collect the data needed to evaluate their success or shortcomings in meeting social equity goals.
Building electrification means eliminating use of fossil fuels for functions like heating and cooking and replacing gas appliances with alternatives that use electricity. In California, 25 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the buildings we live and work in. As our electric grid gets steadily cleaner, building electrification can play a big role in fighting climate change. Electrifying our homes also has major health benefits. Burning gas releases nitrogen oxides and particulates, which can have serious health consequences. While building electrification has promising benefits for residents and for the state, it must be pursued equitably— ensuring that environmental and social justice communities can benefit, rather than being left with polluting and increasingly expensive gas appliances. It will require intentional policymaking and a planned transition for environmental and social justice communities to gain access to the major benefits of electrification, including cleaner air, healthier homes, good jobs and empowered workers, and greater access to affordable clean energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly energy bills.
Urban freeways create barriers to movement within cities, institutionalize social inequities, contribute to environmental degradation, and encourage suburban sprawl. As urban freeways approach the end of their useful lives, decisions on the fate of an individual freeway will be place specific, and must consider policy, budget, current and future transportation needs, and neighborhood impacts. This report outlines infrastructure and policy options for aging freeways, such as converting them to surface boulevards, constructing sunken expressways, relocating, completely removing them, and more.
Environmental racism and the subsequent chronic exposure to air pollution has been identified as one of the biggest contributing factors to higher rates of severe illness and death from COVID-19 within Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Fossil fuel plants are among the top emitters of pollutants that can cause or worsen respiratory problems and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. This report discusses how the fossil fuel industry contributes to adverse outcomes from COVID-19 within BIPOC communities and how COVID-19 relief packages have prioritized fossil fuel corporations at the expense of communities of color. In addition, it also discusses how the fossil fuel industry has been upheld by the U.S government and financial institutions, and proposes multiple solutions to these problems.
A 100% Just Energy Economy must go beyond simply replacing fossil fuels; in order to be 100% Just, it must include other key elements, such as renewable fuels, an end to sacrifice zones, and good green jobs targeted to the communities that have survived decades of divestment. This guide outlines options policymakers can take to transform the U.S.’ energy economy to not only meet the challenges of climate change, but also to put people and planet before profits.
Those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are those without living wages or access to political power. As a result, it is necessary for climate resiliency strategies to adopt a framework of community wealth building. Cities have recently integrated more green infrastructure strategies into their climate resiliency planning; a buildout of green infrastructure projects could create new opportunities for social enterprises and worker cooperatives, which play critical roles in building community wealth, to thrive. This report investigates the state of worker cooperatives and social enterprises in the green infrastructure field, in order to understand the possibilities and strategies for these community wealth building enterprises to seize the opportunity to provide positive jobs in their communities.
A nation of renewable-powered, job-generating, self-reliant states is within reach – and necessary; improved renewable electricity technology would allow nearly every state to produce 100 percent of its electricity needs from local renewable sources. This report includes a series of maps that illustrate nationwide renewable electricity potential from a wide variety of sources, including rooftop solar, offshore wind, onshore wind, geothermal, and small hydro. Additionally, this report also includes maps that demonstrate how decreased energy intensity could offset increased electricity demand from high electrification.
This report identifies the root causes of Baltimore’s failed and inequitable waste system, and how its impacts intersect with racial and economic justice. The Baltimore Sustainability Plan will enable the city to move towards a new system of fair development aligned with human rights principles anchored to a Zero Waste framework. This plan recognizes the challenges and opportunities towards meeting Baltimore’s Zero Waste goal and includes several initiatives to have a major shift towards expanding composting, making the city’s recycling program reliably and coventiently to all, while emphasizing Zero Waste opportunities to create local jobs.