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Can U.S. cities use climate plans to ‘undo’ racist legacies?

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Reuters, November 2022

While many cities have been including climate action in their planning for years, the explicit focus on equity is new for most, said Joan Fitzgerald, an urban affairs professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

It is motivated, she said, by the COVID-19 pandemic’s racial health disparities and outrage over the 2020 murder of George Floyd, alongside President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which pledges 40% of climate-related investments to benefit the poor and those disproportionately impacted by pollution.

“When you talk about climate justice at the city level … the idea is to undo the damage,” said Fitzgerald, who published a five-city study on climate equity in April.

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