The Hill, January 2021
The Black Lives Matter movement highlights long-standing inequities and amplifies the drumbeat for climate justice and an equitable transition to a clean economy. With the incoming Biden-Harris administration and a growing list of environmental justice advocates at the helm, it’s time to move from rhetoric to reality. We offer concrete proposals to turn climate justice goals into climate justice policies.
The call for climate justice has multiple dimensions, from ensuring an equitable transition to clean energy for vulnerable communities and workers disrupted by the move away from fossil fuels, to extending the benefits of our economy-wide shift to those who have historically been left behind. Even more than past environmental challenges, decarbonizing will not be a narrow, technical undertaking. We need a holistic, justice-centered perspective to shape our vision for a green economy and meet the pervasive environmental and socioeconomic challenges and opportunities ahead.
From Kentucky to Louisiana to Arizona, communities and workers who rely on the fossil fuel industry are confronting an existential shift, one that requires our collective attention and support. We recommend that the incoming administration and Congress assess these communities’ needs and fund planning for and implementation of community-based economic development strategies. The highest priority should be supporting the communities of color, Native American nations and low-income communities that are most vulnerable to economic disruption.