Climate Justice and a Just Transition
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.
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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.
Climate Justice, a Just Transition, and Environmental Justice
To ensure that climate policy is equitable and addresses current injustices, it is important to center communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and the transition away from fossil-fuel energy.
Driving Health, Social, and Economic Inequities
Ensuring a Just Energy Transition
A just energy transition is an equity-centered policy solution that seeks to address social, environmental, and economic implications of the transition from fossil-fuel energy sources to clean energy sources, particularly for historic fossil-fuel workers and communities.