The Just Transition Alliance is adding an environmental justice perspective to the debate around climate change solutions.
The evidence is overwhelming: climate change will change our all of lives dramatically. But the harmful effects won’t be shared equally. They are most devastating to people in urban centers, coastal regions and those dependent upon subsistence fishing. These populations, in the United States and across the globe, are overwhelmingly people of color.
But the world’s poorest people and people of color have been largely left out of the discussion about adapting to a world affected by disruptive climate change. And not only are they unequally affected, they also have the fewest resources to deal with the effects.
These communities are often already burdened with poor air quality and the corresponding health effects, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Rising temperatures means more extreme events of every kind-drought, storms, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, and deadly heat waves. This is why it’s so critical that people who will be harmed the most get a voice in finding solutions to global climate change.
To address this, we are part of the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change, a new effort by over 40+ organizations working together to ensure that national climate change policies are just, responsible and sane. The Forum has developed policy proposals that address climate change fairly and effectively. Read about why polluting “clean coal” is a dangerous false solution to climate change.
We advocate for policies and programs that protect the most vulnerable communities of our country and demanding action to create a just transition to a clean, renewable energy economy and future.
We’re also part of the Environmental Justice Climate Change initiative, a diverse group of U.S. environmental justice, climate justice, religious, policy, and advocacy networks working together to promote a climate policy based on justice. Until recently, the national and international debate didn’t consider the disproportionate harm of global climate disruption on Indigenous Peoples who face losing more of their land and People of Color in the inner city as well due to rising air pollution contributing to greater rates of asthma and other chronic diseases.
Real solutions- not false solutions
The Just Transition Alliance has helped create a position opposing carbon trading. We’re showing why false solutions like offsetting carbon from vehicles by planting trees, and making fuels from food crops only benefit the fossil fuel industry.
Under carbon trading programs, energy companies and others that release greenhouse gases can either agree to reduce their carbon emissions or buy the right to keep polluting. First these polluters make money by causing the climate crisis, and then turning around and claiming to solve it- while profiting! In some cases, genetically engineered trees are planted as “offsets”. But they not only threaten local biodiversity, but also cause displacement of indigenous communities and undermine their livelihood.