Issue Area

Climate Justice and a Just Transition

Overview

Climate change impacts everyone. But because human societies are unequal, climate change does not impact everyone in the same way. For example, low-income communities have fewer resources to recover from climate disasters. In the United States, communities of color bear the brunt of pollution associated with fossil fuels and energy infrastructure. Worldwide, climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and children. Because climate change amplifies existing injustices, policies to address climate change should be designed to mitigate inequality and disproportionate impacts.

To advance climate justice through a just transition, state legislation needs to identify and center environmental justice communities, build an inclusive economy, support community-driven solutions, require local pollution reductions, and facilitate a just transition. As we transition off of fossil fuels, it is critical that the workers and communities who have powered our nation for so long do not get abandoned. A just transition to a clean energy future requires self-determination and support for those transitioning out of the fossil fuel industry. It is also critical that the clean energy sector does not repeat the mistakes of the past, and so a just transition involves equitable policy design to ensure that clean energy jobs are high-quality jobs that are accessible to all.

NCEL Point of Contact
Clara Summers

Climate and Energy Program Manager

Contact
Key Facts

Apprenticeship programs coupled with targeted hiring policies can ensure that the clean energy workforce of the future includes women, people of color, people with disabilities, returning citizens, and other underrepresented groups.

It is important to work closely with tribes when developing just transition policies, as many tribal lands are home to retiring coal mines or plants.

No community is the same. Policy development for a just transition requires an in-depth understanding of each impacted locale, often through a stakeholder process.

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Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

Just and Equitable Transition Coalition

Tools to help plan for and fund a just & equitable transition from fossil fuel power plants and mining

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State-Based Policy Toolkit: Policies to Build a Cleaner, Safer, More Equitable Economy

Policy Toolkit from the Blue Green Alliance

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Rural Development Hubs

Report from the Aspen Institute

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Guide to Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness Planning - Urban Sustainability Directors Network

This guide provides strategies for involving community members in climate adaptation.

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Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs

Guidebook from Georgetown Climate Center for ensuring equity in climate adaptation and resilience efforts.

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Solutions Library - Just Solutions Network

This resource library brings together the best work for or by BIPOC-Frontline communities on just policy and program solutions.

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