Politicians Need To Know Fossil Fuel Money Doesn't Make Good Climate Policy

Posted by Justin Guay Thu, 21 Nov 2019 19:09:00 GMT

A guest post by climate strategist Justin Guay. A prior version was published on Twitter.

I don’t know David Victor.

Not in the Trump sense, I literally have never met him. I can’t weigh in on him and don’t want to. But there is an underlying issue swirling around him and the Buttigieg campaign – taking money from those who actively sabotage climate efforts – that needs to be talked about, not hand-waved away.

No one would today, with the hindsight of history, suggest that Tobacco, Asbestos or other universally recognized “bads” should have been at the table designing regulations aimed at eliminating their industries. But fossil fuels, incredibly, are somehow different.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not black and white. There are friends, frenemies (I see you utilities, I see you), and enemies. Companies and actors can and do move amongst the categories. We can’t be ideologues because yesterday’s villain can be tomorrow’s hero. (There’s lots of this in finance.)

But there are, I believe, universal bad guys who will never move because their business model doesn’t allow it. Pure-play coal companies are one, which is why carbon-capture-and-sequestration coalitions should never, ever, allow the likes of Peabody to launder their reputation with their well-intentioned efforts.

And then there’s oil. We do have examples of shifting (Love you, Ørsted). But it’s the exception, not the rule, and it was achieved thanks to hefty state intervention and ownership. The reality is large, publicly traded oil companies today are not friends – they’re enemies and they’re powerful.

So when academics, politicians and other “very serious actors” take their money, they enable an incredibly insidious thing. They launder these companies’ reputations, enable their gaslighting, and generally squander power that is very, very difficult for climate hawks to build.

They do that in part by abstracting climate into a “carbon problem” as though carbon dioxide is not created by specific companies and industries for their own benefit at the expense of our future. Those are arguments the left internalizes, enabling an artificial narrowing of the political horizon.

It’s this, even more than billions spent directly lobbying that I find most troubling. It’s unseen limitations on the ambition of the left that DC refugees know all too well. It’s not “political reality.” It’s artificially generated both-sides-ism brought to you by money.

It’s then made visible by journalists who treat these paid shills as equals as they present counter arguments “in good faith.” That’s not an equal argument focused on what’s in the best interest of the public. That’s an industry fighting to survive at society’s expense.

So let’s be clear. We can not and will not, solve the climate crisis as long as we allow those actively sabotaging action to appear as though they’re not. We will look back and find it ridiculous that this needed to be said.

Fossil-Fuel-Funded Pete Buttigieg Climate Advisor David Victor Opposes Fossil-Fuel Divestment

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:39:00 GMT

Pete Buttigieg climate advisor David G. Victor, a political scientist and recipient of millions of dollars from BP and other fossil-fuel companies, begrudged the recent decision of the University of California to divest its endowment from the fossil-fuel industry.

”’Divesting from all fossil fuel companies turns the climate problem into something that seems like a simple problem, and in fact it’s the opposite,” Victor told Cal Matters in September, when U of C’s decision was announced. “We should be shareholders in those companies, and we should be active shareholders, to make sure that they’re actually doing it.”

In lieu of divestment, Victor has advocated for drilling for natural gas, “clean coal,” and considering geoengineering in the name of climate action.

Of course, Victor is only one of Buttigieg’s climate advisors.

It is not clear what Buttigieg’s position on the climate divestment movement is. However, Buttigieg, like all of the Democratic candidates for president on the debate stage tonight. has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, committing to not accept campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry.

h/t Dr. Genevieve Guenther

Pete Buttigieg Climate Advisor Is a Fossil-Fuel-Funded Witness for The Trump Administration Against Children's Climate Lawsuit

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 19 Nov 2019 01:31:00 GMT

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, enjoying a surge in Iowa polling, has a climate advisor allied with the Trump administration against climate activists.

David G. Victor, recently quoted in a New York Times article criticizing Bernie Sanders’ ambitious climate plan, was identified by journalist Lisa Friedman as a “climate advisor to Pete Buttigieg.”

Not mentioned by Friedman were Victor’s ties to the fossil-fuel industry and to the Trump administration. For the past 15 years, his funding has come from the fossil-fuel industry—in particular the oil giant BP and the electric-utility-backed Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Victor, who is a political scientist, not a climate scientist, by training, sits on the board of EPRI.

In 2004, Victor celebrated a $1.95 million contribution from BP to the program he directed at the time, Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development. “This new partnership with BP will allow the program to accelerate research in several areas, including the design and operation of market-based policies to address the threats of global warming,” said Victor. “In addition to BP Foundation support, we look forward to learning more from BP’s own experience as an energy company, which touches on every aspect of our program’s research.”

In 2005, Victor published an article calling for a global boom in natural-gas extraction in the name of climate action. “[M]ore programs to build natural gas infrastructures would help the governments of China and India to manage their local air pollution problems while cutting emissions of CO2,” he wrote. “India’s shift to gas is being hampered by the United States–led effort to isolate Iran, which is slowing plans to build an important pipeline from Iran’s vast gas deposits to markets in Pakistan and India. External pressure and assistance to normalize Russia’s gas industry would help to unlock vast Siberian gas deposits for export to China.”

In 2007, Victor celebrated a further $7.5 million contribution from BP with a very similar quotation. “BP’s support has allowed our program to study the world’s most pressing energy problems, such as global warming, energy poverty and the prospects for the world oil market,” said program director and Stanford law Professor David Victor. “In addition to BP Foundation support, we learn from BP’s experience as an energy company because they operate in all the markets where we do research—such as in China and India.”

In 2009, he pushed “clean coal.”

In 2010, Victor helped to found the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, also funded by BP and EPRI.

In 2016, Victor emphasized his empathy for corporate polluters, railing against a study finding that 90 corporations are responsible for most greenhouse pollution. ””It’s part of a larger narrative of trying to create villains; to draw lines between producers as responsible for the problem and everyone else as victims,” he complained. “Frankly, we’re all the users and therefore we’re all guilty. To create a narrative that involves corporate guilt as opposed to problem-solving is not going to solve anything.”

In 2018, Victor was paid by the Trump administration to be an expert witness against the 21 youth plaintiffs bringing suit against the federal government for its inaction on climate change and support of a fossil-fuel economy.

“It is my belief that the dependence on fossil fuels which existed prior to the oil crises of the 1970s, and which exists today, in fact, is the inevitable consequence of history,” Victor wrote. He also argued that it is the renewable energy sector, not the fossil-fuel industry, which enjoys the lion’s share of federal subsidies, and that federal policy has little to do with the financial success of the fossil-fuel industry. He was paid $325 an hour to prepare his testimony.

“The progressive wing wants radical change, and climate change is one of those areas where this has really been the most palpable,” Victor told the Times. “The Sanders plan claims to deliver radical change, but it can’t work in the real world.”

This is a decidedly strange perspective-it is precisely “radical change” in the “real world” that the Sanders plan and Our Children’s Trust are working to avoid. The approach of Victor and his client Donald Trump – and worryingly, Buttigieg’s – is the one risks radical change.

Update:

Via Emily Atkin’s Heated newsletter, Victor responds:
Victor also sharply criticized the Hill Heat article, accusing it of using deceptive language regarding his testimony in the youth climate lawsuit. “It is truly unbelievable,” he said. “This is the kind of factless innuendo that is why we have not made more progress on the climate problem, and it’s very disappointing to see.”

Because the lawsuit is against the Trump administration—and because Victor was paid to testify on the government’s side—the Hill Heat article described Victor as being “allied with the Trump administration against climate activists.” But Victor said he was brought on as a witness for the government when the case was originally brought against the Obama administration.

“Because of continuity of government, when the president changes, the government keeps on going. So Right now it’s Trump. Soon, it will hopefully be Buttigieg.”

Victor’s definition of “factless innuendo” seems to be “facts he doesn’t like.”

This is a fact: Victor is being paid by the Trump administration to testify against youth climate activists.

This, however, is an opinion: That he decided to work against youth climate activists when Barack Obama was president doesn’t make his decision less contemptible.

Constructing factless innuendo is left as an exercise for the reader.

Examining the Oil Industry’s Efforts to Suppress the Truth about Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:00:00 GMT

The Subcommittee will examine how the oil industry’s climate denial campaign has negatively and disproportionately affected people of color and vulnerable populations in our country and around the world, as well as drowned out the voices of everyday Americans.

BACKGROUND

Decades of climate denialism by the oil industry forestalled meaningful government action to avert the current crisis. As early as the 1960s, oil giants like Exxon knew that climate change was real and that the burning of fossil fuels was a major contributor to the problem.

The lack of government action on climate change has a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities who are often harmed “first and worst” by climate change.

Climate denial not only led to these devasting effects on vulnerable populations; it also represents a distortion of our democracy, as powerful, moneyed interests control the conversation and drown out the voices of average Americans who are paying the price of climate change.

Despite efforts to rehabilitate their image by pledging to stop supporting think tanks and lobbyists who promote climate denialism, Exxon has continued to fund climate deniers. Exxon still continues to fund organizations “steeped in climate denial and delay” to this day, clear evidence that it has not changed since its initial pivot from climate science to denial.

Despite the already devasting effects of climate change, Exxon shows no signs of slowing down on its production of fossil fuels. To the contrary, Exxon and other oil companies continue to explore for more oil, meaning they are not taking the problem of climate change or the development of alternative fuels seriously.

Witnesses:
  • Dr. Mustafa Ali, Vice President, Environmental Justice Climate and Community Revitalization, National Wildlife Federation
  • Dr. Ed Garvey, Former Exxon Scientist
  • Dr. Martin Hoffert, Former Exxon Consultant, Professor Emeritus, Physics, New York University
  • Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Professor, History of Science, Affiliated Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University
  • Sharon Eubanks, Esquire, Of Counsel, Henderson Law Firm, PLLC

Press Conference for House Resolution Encouraging Teaching about Climate Change in Schools

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 19 Sep 2019 15:00:00 GMT

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) will introduce a House Resolution in support of teaching climate change in schools on Thursday, September 19th, 2019. A press conference will be held beforehand at 11:00 am at the U.S. House Triangle. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) will be speak about her support for the resolution and the urgency of addressing climate chance. Other members of Congress have also been invited.

Youth climate advocates Jonah Gottlieb (National Children’s Campaign), Kate Roney and Christian Hernandez (Schools for Climate Action), and an educator, Nancy Metzger-Carter (Sonoma Academy, UN Climate Change Teacher Academy) will also speak in support of the resolution.

Representative Lee worked with youth and teacher climate advocates to craft a House Resolution supporting the teaching of climate change in schools because “the global impact of climate change and the urgency and magnitude of the challenge of addressing climate change will eventually fall on current students.”

The House Resolution declares climate change a social justice, racial justice, and human rights issue that disproportionately affects students of color and students in poverty, thereby exacerbating existing inequalities and limiting equality of opportunity. It also refers to a 2019 resolution by the California Association of School Psychologists that declared climate change a potential threat to the psychological and social development of children, in addition to known negative health effects.

One of the lead groups that collaborated with Rep. Lee was Schools for Climate Action, an initiative of the National Children’s Campaign, is a nonpartisan, youth-adult campaign that helps school boards, students councils and educational sector organizations pass climate resolutions calling on Congress to act and bringing awareness that climate change a generational justice issue.

The resolution has been endorsed by: The National Children’s Campaign, Schools for Climate Action, Global Oneness Project, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, National Center for Science Education, Principles for Responsibility Investment, Paleontological Research Institution, Rethinking Schools, Sierra Club and Teacher’s Advocacy Committee.

National Children’s Campaign

National Children’s Campaign advocates on behalf of the nation’s 74 million children. It is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to serve as a catalyst to inspire, encourage and empower to make America’s children & youth a national priority by promoting health, education, safety, economic & environmental security through the power of strategic media and internet partnerships, experts, business and community leaders, celebrity spokespeople and grassroots effort.

Schools for Climate Action

Schools for Climate Action, A nonpartisan youth/adult campaign that works with the educational sector to pass climate resolutions that declare climate change as a generational justice issue and call on Congress to act.

Pushed By Climate Activists, New York Times Abandons Oil And Money Conference

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 03 Sep 2019 14:28:00 GMT

The New York Times has dropped its long-running sponsorship of its highly lucrative Oil And Money conference, ceding to rising pressure from climate activists. The decision was announced on Twitter by the New York Times Climate team led by editor Hannah Fairfield. The tweet included a statement from the Times’ communications SVP, Eileen Murphy:

The New York Times has decided to end its relationship with the Oil & Money conference.

Over the last several years The Times has significantly expanded its reporting on climate change and its impact, as well as broader investigative and explanatory coverage of energy and environmental policy. We have a large team focused solely on the topic and in the last year alone we’ve traveled to every continent to document the effects of a warming planet.

While our partners in Oil & Money, Energy Intelligence, have always maintained high standards of independence and impartiality, the subject matter of the conference gives us cause for concern as we continue to invest in these consequential environmental issues. We want there to be no question of our independence or even the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.

We wish Energy Intelligence well as they continue to gather energy leaders, policy makers, and environmentalists to discuss how to sustainably meet the world’s rising energy needs.

The tweet, like much of The Times’ climate coverage even to this day, avoided directly stating that the fossil-fuel industry causes global warming.

Separately, Energy Intelligence announced the conference will be “renamed the Energy Intelligence Forum” because “the energy industry is changing, and as our conference program has evolved in recent years to address the challenges of climate change and the energy transition, we felt that our conference needed a new identity and a new mandate.”

The London-based conference, which gathers the world’s top oil executives, has been the target of protests for years. In 2014, climate activist Tamsin Ormond stormed the conference, shouting “Oil is fucking our future!

In 2015, members of Fossil Free London (@DivestLondon) staged a protest outside the conference, holding the banner “Climate Change: No Time To Party”: and blocking the award ceremony celebrating ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson: The protesters mockingly threw cash at the executives as they entered the “Petroleum Executive of the Year” gala: Two of the protesters superglued their hands to the doors of a side entrance, and others tried to infiltrate the gala.

In 2016, the Divest London protests continued, with activists declaring a “Climate Crime Scene”:

The protests at the conference continued in 2017 and 2019.

In June 2019, Extinction Rebellion staged sit-in protests at The New York Times headquarters in Manhattan, blocking traffic on Eighth Avenue and scaling the NYT building with a large “Climate Emergency – Mass Murder” banner: About 70 protesters were arrested.

At the time, The Guardian’s Amanda Holpuch reported that The New York Times responded: “There is no national news organization that devotes more time, staff or resources to producing deeply reported coverage to help readers understand climate change than The New York Times.”

The New York Times did not report on the protest, which was covered by many other outlets.

The June protest focused on the tenor of The New York Times’ climate coverage and its acceptance of fossil-fuel advertising, not its sponsorship of the Oil & Money Conference. However, Extinction Rebellion NYC soon began to focus on the Oil & Money Conference, including it as a target in their August 7th die-in at Times headquarters and in an August 30 video appeal to the Times.

As DNC Votes to Kill Climate Debate, Biden Campaign Rescinds Support

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:38:00 GMT

On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee’s resolutions committee voted down a resolution that would have established a climate debate for the presidential candidates, reflecting the wishes of frontrunner Joe Biden. However, the committee did open the door to candidates participating in a non-DNC-sanctioned climate debate, a significant victory for the youth activists leading the call. On Saturday, the full DNC voted that plan down 222 to 137, closing the door to any presidential climate debate.

DNC chair Tom Perez’s resolution to block a DNC climate debate passed the committee in an 17 to 8 vote.

At the DNC meeting in California, Biden spokesperson and DNC member Symone Sanders said it would be “dangerous” to hold a climate debate.

Mercury News’s Casey Tolan reported that Symone Sanders said a climate debate “would fundamentally change the game” of the established debate rules and would be “dangerous territory in the middle of a Democratic primary process.”

In June, Biden had expressed unequivocal support for a debate exclusively on climate.

DNC members opposed to holding a climate debate include corporate lobbyist and CNN commentator Maria Cardona of the Dewey Square Group, who said “It will take away time from their knocking on doors, going to all of your states to be able to campaign.”

The Costs of Climate Change: From Coasts to Heartland, Health to Security

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:00:00 GMT

Last month, expert witnesses told us that the economic costs of climate change will be significant. But what will these costs look like for the individuals, businesses, and communities facing severe coastal flooding and storms, decreased agricultural productivity, increased health threats, and national risks to security? To answer this question, on July 24th, the House Budget Committee will hear testimony from five expert witnesses on the impacts of climate change to coastal communities, agricultural economies, public health, and national security – and the implications for the federal budget.

Climate change puts millions of people at risk from coastal flooding and storms — Coastal homes, businesses, infrastructure, and lives are threatened by more intense hurricanes, increased flooding, saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies, and reduced fishery productivity. More than 300,000 residential and commercial coastal properties , valued at approximately $136 billion today, are projected to be at risk of chronic tidal flooding by 2045 – even absent heavy rains or storms. Major disasters related to hurricanes, severe storms, and flooding have been getting worse, too. In the last three years, such disasters caused more than 3,400 deaths in the United States, compared to less than 200 deaths over a similar period 35 years ago. By 2050, the risk of being hit by a category 4 or 5 hurricane could increase by 275 percent from 1980 levels, and eight out of nine U.S. real estate companies are already citing operational risks and costs from flooding and hurricanes in their environmental disclosures. Cumulative damages to coastal property from sea level rise and storm surge are projected to reach $3.6 trillion through 2100 unless we take action. The federal costs for flood prevention, flood insurance, and disaster response will grow. Flood insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program are already increasing, with the six costliest years all occurring since 2005, and federal spending on hurricane relief and recovery is projected to increase 33 percent faster than the growth in the economy by 2075.

Climate change will further strain farmers and the agricultural economy — The changing climate will lead to heat stress in plants and livestock, reduced soil health and moisture, shifts in pollination, and greater pressure from weeds, pests, and diseases. These changes will result in declining crop yields and livestock and poultry productivity , increased rates of crop failure, and reduced food nutrition. For example, hotter temperatures and a doubling of water deficits by midcentury are expected to reduce corn yields in Indiana by 16 to 20 percent, reduce soybean yields by 9 to 11 percent, and double the number of livestock heat stress days. The average inflation-adjusted price of crops is projected to increase 20 percent by 2050 . Planting alternate crops, new farm and soil management practices, and emerging technologies can help farmers adapt but come at a cost for agricultural communities already under significant financial pressure. The federal government will also absorb additional costs. For example, climate change could increase crop insurance costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat by 40 percent by 2080.

Climate change is the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century — More than 90 health organizations have jointly identified climate change as a public health emergency, and children, pregnant women, older adults, outdoor workers, and low-income and marginalized communities are disproportionately vulnerable. By midcentury, more than 90 million people in the United States – a 100-fold increase – will experience 30 or more days with a heat index above 105°F in an average year. Such extreme heat and heat waves will increase hospitalization for heatstroke and cardiovascular, respiratory, and kidney disorders and could cause thousands of deaths annually. Degraded air quality and higher pollen concentrations will increase the incidence of respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, asthma, and allergies. More people will be exposed to infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks (such as Zika and Lyme disease), toxic algal blooms, and waterborne diseases. Cases of tickborne disease have already more than doubled from 2004 to 2016. Severe storms can disrupt critical healthcare systems and infrastructure for months, as well as directly costing lives. The costs to the public health system and federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, although not yet quantified, are likely to be significant.

Climate change threatens defense readiness and stability around the world — The intelligence community, senior defense officials, and Department of Defense (DOD) strategies and plans have consistently identified climate change as a national security challenge and threat multiplier. U.S. military facilities, operations, and equipment are vulnerable to storms, sea level rise, flooding, wildfires, and drought. In just the last year, hurricane and flood damage to Camp Lejeune and Tyndall and Offutt Air Force Bases will require $8.5 billion to repair – and the DOD assesses that approximately two-thirds of mission assurance priority installations are at risk. Melting sea ice is opening the Arctic to increased competition with Russia and China for natural resources and access to sea routes. Globally, climate change will exacerbate food and water insecurity, infectious disease outbreaks, natural resource scarcity, commodity price shocks, economic distress and inequality, natural disaster severity, and population displacement and migration. These in turn will increase the risk of social unrest, political instability, and conflict abroad – and increase the frequency, scale, complexity, and cost of future DOD missions.

At this upcoming hearing, the Budget Committee will continue to examine the challenges that climate change poses to the American people and economy, building on its June hearing and looking more closely at specific sectors.

Witnesses
  • Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association
  • Stefani Millie Grant, Senior Manager for External Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever
  • Rear Admiral Lower Half Ann C. Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, Office of the Governor of Virginia
  • Rich Powell, Executive Director, ClearPath
  • Rear Admiral Upper Half David W. Titley, Ph.D., Affiliate Professor of Meteorology and of International Affairs, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University

Environmental Organizations Cross Racial Divides To Present Climate Justice Platform

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 23 Jul 2019 19:11:00 GMT

In an encouraging sign for those seeking to make the vision of the Green New Deal a reality, a coalition of mostly white environmental organizations and predominantly black environmental justice organizations have released the “Equitable & Just National Climate Platform.”

The platform is a vision statement for American climate justice policy, with signatories “committed to advancing a bold and equitable national climate agenda and believe that all people and all communities have the right to breathe clean air, live free of dangerous levels of toxic pollution, access healthy food, and share the benefits of a prosperous and vibrant clean economy.”

The Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Union of Concerned Scientists are also members of the BlueGreen Alliance which released a similar labor-focused platform in June.

Platform co-authors and inaugural signatories: Center for American Progress, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, Center for the Urban Environment, John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, Thomas Edison State University, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice, Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Harambee House–Citizens for Environmental Justice, League of Conservation Voters, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Los Jardines Institute, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Midwest Environmental Justice Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, ReGenesis Project, Sierra Club, Tishman Environment and Design Center at the New School, Union of Concerned Scientists, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

Environmental justice organization inaugural signatories: 2BRIDGE CDX / BTB Coalition, Agricultura Cooperative Network, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Black Environmental Collective-Pittsburgh, Black Millennials 4 Flint, Black Youth Leadership Development Institute, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, Citizens for Melia, Clean Power Lake County, Coalition of Community Organizations, Community Housing and Empowerment Connections, Community Members for Environmental Justice, Concerned Citizens Coalition of Long Branch, Concerned Citizens of Wagon Mound and Mora County, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, Dakota Wicohan, Delaware Concerned Residents for Environmental Justice, Dr. Cesar G. Abarca, Dr. Fatemeh Shafiei, Dr. Marisol Ruiz, Dr. Robert Bullard, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Eduardo Aguiar, El Chante: Casa de Cultura, Farmworker Association of Florida, Flint Rising, Georgia Statewide Network for Environmental Justice and Equity, Greater Newark Conservancy, Green Door Initiative, Greenfaith, Ironbound Community Corporation, Jesus People Against Pollution, Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte, Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, Louisiana Democracy Project, Minority Workforce Development Coalition, Mossville Community in Action, Native Justice Coalition, Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc., Partnership for Southern Equity, People Concerned About Chemical Safety, People for Community Recovery, PODER, Reverend Canon Lloyd S. Casson, Rubbertown Emergency ACTion, Tallahassee Food Network, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, Texas Drought Project, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, The Wise Choice, Inc., Tradish “Traditional Real Foods,” Tusconians for a Clean Environment, UrbanKind Institute, We the People of Detroit, West County Toxics Coalition, Wisconsin Green Muslims.

Download Equitable & Just National Climate Platform or read the text below:

AN EQUITABLE AND JUST NATIONAL CLIMATE AGENDA

To effectively build an inclusive, just, and clean-energy economy, the national climate agenda must achieve the following:

No community left behind

All communities have a right to live free from exposure to dangerous toxic pollution in their soil as well as in the air they breathe, the food they eat, and the water they drink. Yet persistent racial and economic inequalities—and the forces that cause them—embedded throughout our society have concentrated toxic polluters near and within communities of color, tribal communities, and low-income communities. These underlying social forces, including persistent and systematic racial discrimination and economic inequality, have created disproportionately high environmental and public health risks in these areas relative to wealthier white neighborhoods. The national climate policy agenda must address this environmental injustice head-on by prioritizing climate solutions and other policies that also reduce pollution in these legacy communities at the scale needed to significantly improve their public health and quality of life. The agenda must also build the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fulfill its mission to protect the nation’s health and the environment by developing and enforcing effective regulations for all communities.

A healthy climate and air quality

The devastating and costly consequences of climate change threaten the health, safety, and livelihoods of people across the country. Generations of economic and social injustice have put communities on the frontlines of climate change effects. The national climate policy agenda must have as its foundation policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and locally harmful air pollution at the ambitious scale and speed needed to avoid the worst and most costly health impacts, especially for the most vulnerable communities and communities coping with the legacy pollution from the present economy. This includes reducing emissions in low-income areas and communities of color—EJ communities—through a suite of policies, including climate mitigation policy. The agenda must mobilize vast new resources to reduce carbon pollution, curb locally harmful pollution, and build resilience to improve the health, safety, and livability of all communities in a climate-changed world.

Reduction in cumulative impacts

History shows that environmental regulation does not necessarily mean healthy environments for all communities. Many communities suffer from the cumulative effects of multiple pollution sources. A national climate policy agenda that addresses climate pollution must not abandon or diminish the important goal of reducing toxic pollution in all its forms. Climate solutions must be part of a comprehensive approach to reducing legacy environmental and economic impacts on communities and be designed intentionally to ensure that they do not impose further risks. Strategies to address climate change must not disproportionately benefit some communities while imposing costs on others. In fact, the national climate policy agenda should be used to reduce the disproportionate amount of pollution that is often found in EJ communities and that is associated with cumulative impacts, public health risks, and other persistent challenges.

An inclusive, just, and pollution-free energy economy

The shift to a sustainable, just, and equitable energy future requires innovative forms of investment and governance that distribute the benefits of this transition equitably and justly. This includes investing in the development of innovative decentralized models of energy provision; community governance and ownership; incorporation of social and health benefits into energy systems planning; incentivizing the inclusion of equity into future energy investment through public programs; and supporting public and private research and development to include equity considerations in new technology development.

The national climate policy agenda must drive a rapid shift toward a pollution-free, inclusive, and just economy as well as create high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages and safe and healthy working conditions. Breaking down the barriers that produce unemployment and underemployment must be a priority. Workers must be treated fairly and supported through investments in workforce and job training programs, especially in communities with disproportionately high underemployed and unemployed populations and in communities that have been historically reliant on fossil fuel extraction and energy production.

Access to affordable energy

The national climate policy agenda must significantly reduce domestic energy vulnerability and poverty by addressing the problem of high energy cost burdens. To live and prosper in today’s society, access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a basic need in daily life and fundamental to achieving rights related to health, environmental quality, education, and food and income security. Given the disparities in the housing stock and infrastructure across communities, it is imperative that future energy systems provide affordable energy access that ensures a healthy standard of living that provides for the basic needs of children and families. The nation needs bold new leadership that will ensure access to sustainable energy, including by supporting investments in cooperative and nonprofit energy organizations; community and stakeholder engagement and participation in energy planning; public-private partnerships; and renewable and energy efficiency demonstration projects in our most vulnerable communities.

A healthy transportation and goods movement system

As a major contributor to climate and air pollution, we must build the next century’s transportation system to ensure healthy air quality for all communities. This will require massive investment in affordable, reliable, and environmentally sustainable transportation. As with other sectors, the transportation system has a direct effect on economic and social opportunities. Public resources and planning decisions affect patterns of urban development and the structure of local economies, including where jobs and employment are located. The transportation sector is also responsible for providing accessibility to basic human needs. Therefore, transportation planning must ensure affordable transportation that provides for community members’ mobility and access to daily activities and services, including jobs, education, health care, affordable housing, and social networks.

Clean and affordable energy and transportation through an increased and appropriate level of new federal investment in zero-emissions transportation options for all community members in both rural and urban areas must be a priority. This includes programs to scale up investment in public transit; zero-emissions transit buses, diesel trucks, and school buses; and accessible and affordable adoption of electric cars. We also need smart planning that will make our communities safe for pedestrian and bicycle travel.

The goods movement system that distributes raw materials and consumer products currently relies on diesel engines that produce emissions that have significant health and environmental effects on workers and members of surrounding communities. A national climate policy agenda must reduce pollution by advancing a zero-emissions goods movement transportation system to protect the health of workers as well as fenceline and frontline communities and ensure that they benefit from new clean transportation technology development.

Safe, healthy communities and infrastructure

Climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and creates new risks in our communities. As a result, climate change presents historic challenges to human health and our quality of life. Communities across the country need a national climate policy agenda that will mobilize the massive investments necessary to prepare for climate change impacts. Climate solutions provide opportunities for localized benefits that enhance the quality of life for all communities, including by improving local air quality, access to healthy food, local economic development, public health, and community vitality.

We need to build housing and infrastructure that can withstand more powerful storms, floods, heat waves, cold snaps, and wildfires; reduce carbon and air pollution in areas with high cumulative pollution; build a more sustainable food and agricultural system; and expand access to family-sustaining jobs and other economic opportunities. As climate change deteriorates air quality, increases vector-borne disease and allergens, and contributes to a host of other public health threats, we must ensure full access to health care for all. The national climate policy agenda must prioritize investments in communities that are the most vulnerable to climate change, including in health monitoring and research to provide rigorous and reliable research on our progress.

Economic diversity and community wealth building

A national climate policy agenda must acknowledge the continuing increase in wealth and income inequality that plagues our communities. This growing wealth gap makes inclusive local economic development a priority for communities and governments. Economic diversification is critical to effectively address climate change and reduce economic and social vulnerability. We must create and support strategies that shift away from high pollution products and production processes toward those that are low-emission and sustainable. This also includes investments in innovative and worker-supported economic organizations such as cooperatives and other community wealth-building strategies.

Anti-displacement, relocation, and the right to return

A national climate policy agenda must ensure that sustainable investments for both mitigation and adaptation do not impose costs—both social and otherwise—on overburdened and vulnerable communities. Therefore, it is essential that we as a nation invest resources to eliminate barriers to and provide affordable and safe housing for all community members. It is imperative that new investments in resilient infrastructure in communities that have been historically disinvested be a national priority.

Climate-related events are already having severe and often devastating effects on communities, including requiring people to evacuate and relocate out of harm’s way. These types of events are expected to become even more intense and damaging in the future. Leaders at all levels of government must recognize their duty and responsibility to support displaced families to return to their communities or to relocate to places of their choosing. This includes prioritizing public and private investments to rebuild affordable and accessible housing and transportation for residents who have been displaced due to climate and other disaster events—including those with the least resources and ability to respond—and to ensure that displaced people can participate in the planning and management of their return or relocation.

To effectively address the steady rise in climate-related and other disasters, the national climate policy agenda must support equitable and responsive relocation planning and investment in the wake of such events as well as proactively help to protect communities from climate change effects and displacement. In places exposed to extreme climate risks, planned relocation must provide for the improvement of community members’ living standards. Social cohesion is a foundation for community well-being, and, therefore, relocation must strive to maintain and support family unity as well as community and kinship ties. The economic and social disruption to communities that require relocation have significant health, economic, and emotional impacts. It is imperative that relocated community members have access to a full range of health and economic services and the right to choose their residence.

Water access and affordability

Climate change affects the water cycle, which in turn affects the nation’s water quality and supply. The nation’s drinking water infrastructure is already in dire need of massive investment. The national climate policy agenda requires solutions that take into account the effects of climate change on this stressed water infrastructure. As we develop climate solutions, we must focus on avoiding those which impair or burden aquifers, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

A comprehensive infrastructure plan that will focus on water and other basic necessities—specifically for communities that have already experienced significant health and economic impacts—is of the highest priority. Investments must prioritize communities that are already affected by inadequate, harmful, and health-impairing water infrastructure. Bold new leadership is needed to ensure that all community members have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water as well as to maintain and protect water as a common resource. Access to clean water is a basic human right that we must protect for all children and families. As we develop climate solutions, we must avoid those that harm or burden oceans, lakes, rivers, and waterways.

Self-determination, land access, and redevelopment

A national climate policy agenda must be predicated on the principle that land is fundamental to the exercise of community self-determination. Land is integrally tied to community and cultural identity, and its use is directly related to community members’ ability to meet their social, economic, and cultural needs. Urban and rural development and redevelopment must not lead to greater socioeconomic gaps or escalating costs that displace community members. These projects must result in lower pollution emissions for the surrounding community. It is imperative that programs and initiatives to protect and redevelop the environment promote community wealth building and economic diversity that directly benefit local community residents.

Funding and research

A national climate policy agenda must include funding for climate research on equity and climate issues. This research must effectively address equity and justice in climate planning and policy and be at a scale and level of rigor that has been historically invested in previous carbon-mitigation policies and programs. Public and private supporters of these past efforts have a moral obligation to also invest in the needs of communities that have been made vulnerable by past environmental, energy, and economic policies. If we do not sufficiently fund and perform EJ and equity research as it relates to climate change, then climate change policy and research has a significant potential to perpetuate and even exacerbate inequalities rooted in race and income.

U.S. responsibility for climate action and international cooperation

We must aim to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels by 2050. The national climate policy agenda must ensure that the United States acts effectively, responsibly, equitably, and justly to achieve this goal. This requires advancing global climate justice, including by committing to even more ambitious emission reduction goals in the future to contribute our fair share in the global effort to stabilize the climate system, and committing financial resources for least-developed nations to cope with the impacts of climate change. We must do this by radically scaling up both U.S. domestic actions and international cooperation in ways that end poverty and inequality; build sustainable communities and cities; improve public health and well-being; and reach universal achievement of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Labor-Environmental Alliance Releases High-Level Climate Action Principles

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 24 Jun 2019 15:29:00 GMT

On June 24th, the BlueGreen Alliance released “Solidarity for Climate Action”, a compendium of labor and environmental principles with the goal of achieving net-zero carbon pollution by 2050 in line with the Green New Deal vision.

Several union leaders associated with the fossil-fuel industry have responded to the call for a Green New Deal with skepticism or hostility, despite its emphasis on full employment and a unionized workforce; the work of the BlueGreen Alliance represents the viewpoint of another side of labor movement. The opening lines of the document emphasize the importance of collaboration as much as the end result:

“The BlueGreen Alliance and its labor and environmental partners are committed to the vision, principles, and policies outlined in this document, and are committed to a process of working together to identify concrete solutions to achieve these goals.”

The high-level vision document was unveiled at a presentation featuring Mike Williams of the BlueGreen Alliance, Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Collin O’Mara.

The members of the Alliance include the environmental organizations Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Action Fund, League of Conservation Voters, and the National Wildlife Federation; and the labor unions United Steelworkers, Communication Workers of America, Service Employees International Union, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Utility Workers Union of America, American Federation of Teachers, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA), and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC).

This effort echoes The Leap Manifesto and the platform of the European Green Party, though with less ambition.

Download “Solidarity for Climate Action” or read the text below:

Vision

Americans face the dual crises of climate change and increasing economic inequality, and for far too long, we’ve allowed the forces driving both crises to create a wedge between the need for economic security and a living environment. We know this is a false choice—we know that we can and must have both, and we need a bold plan to address both simultaneously.

Many solutions are already being put into place across the country. For example, tradespeople built the Block Island offshore wind project off the coast of Rhode Island, autoworkers are on the factory floors building cleaner cars and trucks in Michigan, and previously unemployed workers in St. Louis and Los Angeles are gaining access to high-skilled jobs in energy efficiency retrofitting, pipefitting, and transit manufacturing, while mine workers are extracting palladium to be used in catalytic converters. These are all good, union jobs building a clean energy and climate-resilient economy today.

At the same time, not enough of the new jobs that have been created or promised in the clean energy economy are high-quality, family-sustaining jobs, nor are these jobs in the same communities that have seen the loss of good-paying, union jobs. Wildfires, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, and sea-level rise driven by climate change are hurting communities across the country and will only worsen if we don’t take decisive action. Lower income workers and communities of color are hit the hardest and are less able to deal with these impacts as wages have fallen and their economic mobility and power in the workplace has declined.

It is critical that working people are front and center as we create a new economy: one that values our work, our families, our communities, and our environment. It is with that imperative that we call for a new plan to create jobs and protect the environment for the next generation. This plan must respond to the climate crisis on the scale that science demands, while simultaneously addressing inequality in all its forms.

Principles

Climate Stability: It is projected that the emissions path the world is currently on could result in an increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels of at least 2.5°C—and could exceed 4°C by 2100—if some countries do not fulfill their Paris Agreement commitments. This will have devastating impacts on both human communities and natural ecosystems. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming, we must act now to shield workers and communities from increased climate disasters: “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, farreaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” which “could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.” This global effort to address climate change and inequality must happen at the speed and scale demanded by scientific reality and the urgent needs of our communities.

High-Quality Jobs: We must strive to create and retain millions of high-quality jobs while putting forward bold solutions to climate change. Unions are a primary vehicle to confront the economic insecurity most Americans face. Unions empower workers, create quality jobs, and sustain families. Making union jobs more accessible to all and increasing our nation’s union density will lift up all working people. When working people have power, they have greater capacity to fight for change.

Community Resilience: We must dramatically increase the capacity of the public sector, the health care system, and community-based nonprofit sectors to prepare for and respond to the demands our changing climate places on first responders, healthcare workers, social workers, and others who deal with climate-induced disasters. We must also deal with the increasing stresses placed on communities and the health of workers due to more gradual manifestations of climate change. We need to expand public and private sector investments in our infrastructure and built environment that incorporate social, environmental, and economic considerations. We must support the efforts of frontline communities to adapt to and recover from the increased frequency and severity of climate change-induced natural disasters and impacts, ensuring that resources flow to those most impacted.

Repair America: We cannot address climate change with derelict infrastructure. It is time we made the long and deep commitment to fully and properly remake and modernize all sectors of our nation’s infrastructure, while also building out the new systems demanded by an advanced economy dealing with climate change demands. Infrastructure must be designed in ways that reduce emissions and that reflect projected conditions over its lifespan, including the ability to withstand the increased frequency and severity of climate-driven natural disasters.

Rebuild American Manufacturing: American leadership in inventing—and manufacturing—the most advanced technology of all kinds was once a cornerstone of a strong and growing middle class and a pathway for many out of poverty. U.S. manufacturing could be revitalized by building cutting-edge products and materials with clean, safe, and efficient industrial processes. A comprehensive national commitment to sustainably manufacture the next generation of energy, transportation, and other technologies in the United States will fully capture the benefits to workers and communities.

Clean Air, Clean Water, Safe and Healthy Workplaces and Communities: Tackling climate change goes hand in hand with ensuring that all workers and communities have access to clean air and water. We must also guarantee that our workplaces and communities are safe, clean, and free of hazardous chemicals and toxic pollution. This must include stepping up workplace protections and improving our industrial infrastructure through improved process safety and investments in inherently safer technologies.

Equity for Marginalized Communities: Generations of economic and racial inequality have disproportionately exposed low-income workers, communities of color, and others to low wages, toxic pollution, and climate threats. We must inject justice into our nation’s economy by ensuring that economic and environmental benefits of climate change solutions support the hardest hit workers and communities. Special attention must be given to the industries and communities that are most likely to be impacted by the effects of climate change and the transition to a clean economy.

Fairness for Workers and Communities: Working people should not suffer economically due to efforts to tackle climate change. The boldness of any plan requires that the workers and communities impacted are afforded a just and viable transition to safe, high-quality, union jobs. We must also maintain a focus on reducing environmental burdens, continuing to be stewards of our air, water, and lands, and deploying technologies that are safe, as well as effective.

Promote Inclusive Public Dialogue: Workers and communities must have a central role in framing the problem and developing solutions to address climate change. Public dialogue between workers, employers, and governments should be present at all levels, from policy design to implementation and the measurement of results. Representatives of organized labor, community-based groups, and business associations should participate actively and equitably in dialogue at the enterprise, sectoral, and national levels to assess opportunities and resolve challenges posed by the climate transition.

Policies

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reductions: To avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, we must significantly reduce the pollution that causes it. Doing so can and should benefit working people and communities across the country. As such, America must commit to implementing the following:
  • Rapid GHG emissions reductions—based on the latest science and in line with our fair share—which would put America on a pathway of reducing its emissions to net zero emissions by 2050. The urgency required to stave off the worst impacts of climate change requires that by 2030 we are solidly on a path to net zero emissions;
  • Deploy clean and renewable technology nationwide. Low-and-no carbon electricity production; carbon capture, removal, storage, and utilization; natural ecosystem restoration; and zero carbon transportation options are important parts of the solution;
  • Make massive immediate investments in energy efficiency across all sectors;
  • Utilize continual scientific review to inform and refine our progress; and
  • Recommit to achieving our emissions reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement, and to restoring American leadership in global negotiations going forward.
Infrastructure and Community Resilience: Our nation must move forward with an ambitious plan to rebuild and transform America’s infrastructure. If we do it right, we will boost our economy, create millions of jobs, and strengthen the resilience of our communities in their ability to prepare and respond to climate related disasters, while also reducing pollution and combating climate change. Strategic investments in infrastructure and a well-trained workforce—including significant investments in revitalizing our public sector workforce—can further ensure that our infrastructure and communities are prepared for the impacts of climate change and the challenges of the next century. Federal, state, and local governments play a crucial role in planning and leading our transition to a cleaner economy while responding to the growing threats of climate change. Our plan must include:
  • Ambitious and strategic public investments to rebuild and modernize America’s infrastructure and make our communities more resilient—repairing our failing roads and bridges, replacing lead pipes and upgrading our water systems, stopping fugitive emissions from existing natural gas distribution pipelines, modernizing our schools, increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings in all sectors from commercial to residential to hospitals and universities, expanding and modernizing our electric grid, building clean and affordable transportations systems, and redeveloping brownfields and cleaning up hazardous waste sites;
  • Investment in the revitalization and expansion of the public sector workforce and ensuring staffing levels are sufficient to accomplish clean energy, resilience, adaptation, and crisis response objectives;
  • Robust investments in natural infrastructure, including improving climate resilience through natural defenses that act as carbon sinks, recovering America’s wildlife, restoring forests and wildlands, reclaiming mines, and addressing the public lands maintenance backlog;
  • Vigorous investment in broadband networks to close the digital divide, achieve universal access to high-speed Internet, and full utilization of the federally backed FirstNet network for first responders;
  • Adaptation, resilience, and pre-disaster mitigation policies and investments, including sustainable land-use, housing, transportation, and natural infrastructure investments that are equitable, community-driven, and designed to uplift rather than uproot communities;
  • Targeted policies and investments to communities with the most need and engaging local organizations to advocate, plan, and sustain positive development outcomes; and
  • Prioritization of the use of the most efficient, resilient, and cleanest materials and products with the lowest carbon and toxicity footprints.
Competitiveness, Strength, and Innovation: The economic strength of our country has long been connected to the well-being of the middle class. Yet, we can’t ensure prosperity if we’ve fallen behind the rest of the world in building the technologies of the future, and if working people and communities don’t see the gains from innovation and a cleaner economy. We need an aggressive agenda to regain American leadership in clean technology innovation, deployment, manufacturing, and good job creation. We can rebuild American competitiveness in the global economy, and secure and create a new generation of good, middle-class jobs across America through:
  • A national strategy to lead in clean and emerging technology production and supply chain development, including major investments in domestic advanced technology manufacturing and innovation, penalizing offshoring, and a commitment to at least doubling funding of clean technology research, development, manufacturing, and deployment;
  • Application of strong Buy American and Davis-Bacon requirements, as well as utilization of project labor agreements, for all public spending, and procurement policies that ensure the use of domestic, clean, and safe materials made by law-abiding corporations throughout the supply chain;
  • Environmentally, economically, and socially responsible mining projects and effective recycling initiatives for strategic materials necessary for a clean energy future; Investment in efficient domestic materials production and innovation to greatly limit the emissions associated with energy intensive manufacturing;
  • Closing the carbon loophole and stopping the leakage of jobs and pollution overseas through procurement standards, sound trade enforcement, and border adjustments; and
  • Ensuring trade agreements are enforceable, fair for all workers, and benefit the environment, including the climate.
High-Quality Job Creation and Retention: American workers have faced wage stagnation, difficult working conditions, and a wholesale effort to decimate their ability to organize for the past several decades. Unionization offers the best pathway for quality jobs and more importantly a good, family-sustaining livelihood. A commitment to high-quality job creation across all sectors of the economy—but especially related to clean energy, adaptation, and resilience—will only be realized if we commit to:
  • Increasing union density across the country through strong support of the right to organize throughout the economy, including in the clean technology sectors;
  • Remove policy barriers to organizing and promote productive policies to ensure that workers have a meaningful voice on the job;
  • Applying mandatory labor standards that include prevailing wages, safety and health protections, project labor agreements, community benefit agreements, local hire, and other provisions and practices that prioritize improving training, working conditions, and project benefits. This includes respect for collective bargaining agreements and workers’ organizing rights such as neutrality, majority sign-up, and first contract arbitration for construction, operations, and maintenance;
  • Raising labor standards in the nonconstruction sectors through improved wages and benefits and the prioritization of full-time work that eliminates the misclassification of employees and misuse of temporary labor;
  • Investing in training, equipment, preparedness, plan development, and other tools including through registered apprenticeship programs to ensure a robust, skilled, and well-prepared workforce to address the extreme weather events and other impacts caused by climate change; and
  • Maximizing the utilization and support for established training providers (such as registered apprenticeships, community colleges, and union training centers) and skill certifications for manufacturing.
Equity, Responsibility, and Safe and Healthy Communities: Justice and equity are critical aspects of any effective climate plan. We must utilize our collective power to solve climate change in ways that lift up all people and make every community more resilient against the impacts of climate change as well as changes in the economy. We must also make sure through this plan that communities are made safer and healthier. As such, America must commit to just solutions through:
  • Community benefit, workforce, and other similar agreements that improve access to jobs and career paths, and identify and implement mechanisms to ameliorate and improve local economic and environmental impacts;
  • Direct reduction of hazardous waste, toxic chemical emissions, particulate matter, and other non-GHG pollutants across the country, but first and foremost in frontline communities;
  • Addressing cumulative environmental impacts that burden frontline communities with disproportionate air, water, and land pollution and climate risks;
  • Improve the safety of our industrial facilities and protect workers, first responders, and fence-line communities;
  • Taking steps to avoid creating a “low-carbon, high-toxicity” economy, including reducing our toxicity footprints through investment and innovation in green chemistry;
  • Ensuring that frontline communities and workers have equitable access to energy efficiency savings and clean, affordable energy, water, and transportation choices;
  • Ironclad commitments to safe and healthy working conditions; and
  • A recognition of our country’s opportunity and responsibility to help fund a clean energy economic development model for developing and emerging countries, including the transfer of technologies and capacity building, as well as assisting vulnerable developing countries in coping with the mounting impacts of climate change through ramped-up investments in adaptation and resilience strategies.
Fairness to Workers and Communities: America lacks a decent support system for people who have fallen through the cracks in our economy. Solutions that rely on or fail to address these systems are doomed to create new problems and ensure that America lags behind in the global race for a prosperous 21st century economy. As such, the United States must establish a globally competitive social safety net, including:
  • Effective and equitable access to high-quality employment, training, and advancement for all workers, particularly those from low-income households, those historically underrepresented on the basis of race, gender, and other criteria, and those adversely impacted or dislocated by technological change—notably including those in energy, transportation, and trade impacted communities;
  • Guaranteed pensions and a bridge of wage support, healthcare, and retirement security until an impacted worker either finds new employment or reaches retirement;
  • Dedicated community engagement including workers, community members, and leaders to support and enhance the development of the local economy;
  • Massive economic investment in deindustrialized areas, including remediating any immediate loss of tax base or public services for communities;
  • Mandated reclamation of closed and abandoned industrial sites to remediate deindustrialized blight, coupled with economic development and diversification; and
  • Requirements for fair and safe working conditions throughout global supply chains.

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