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Harris and Ocasio-Cortez team up on a Climate ‘Equity’ Bill

by Ilana Cohen, Inside Climate News


Highlights

  • California Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez unveiled an updated version of their Climate Equity Act that was initially released a year ago as Senator Harris was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination
  • The Climate Equity Act would:
    • Create an Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability 
    • Require the government to consider the impact of any environmental legislation or regulation on low-income communities by using an equity score created by climate experts and community leaders to assess the equity impacts of new legislation
    • Redirect capital to marginalized communities of color by increasing the diversity of recipients of federal grants and loans in order to make these opportunities more accessible
  • Representative Ocasio-Cortez explains that diversity is needed while creating new policies:

For too long, policies that affect communities of color have been determined by a few white men in a room in Washington… I’m proud to partner with Senator Harris on a bill that will pave the way for a new, inclusionary way of doing things in D.C.”


Senator Kamala Harris is Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President. Centering equitable climate legislation and policies for California’s frontline communities is one of The Climate Center’s guiding principles


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/05082020/kamala-harris-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-climate-equity-bill

Unequal impact: The deep links between racism and climate change

by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360


Highlights

Elizabeth Yeampierre, co-chair of Climate Justice Alliance, shares the correlation between the United States’ racist past and the current climate crisis

  • Climate movements typically center around conversation and protecting wildlife while not advocating for the protection of Black and Brown people who are directly impacted by climate change and environmental racism
  • Climate change stems all the way back to colonial times, where indigenous lands were exploited and used for extraction of natural resources in the name of capitalism
  • The treatment of Black and Indigenous people present-day can be compared to the early days of America, where enslaved people were given poor housing and food
  • The communities impacted by COVID are the same ones experiencing pollution, and they will continue to feel the worst effects of the climate crisis
  • Policies, such as the Green New Deal, must include frontline leaders and frontline communities in order to better serve all people
  • A just transition of labor must look at the process and impacts of achieving sustainability to ensure that frontline communities are not experiencing more pollution in pursuit of sustainability

The Climate Center’s urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. There cannot be climate justice without racial justice.


Read more: https://e360.yale.edu/features/unequal-impact-the-deep-links-between-inequality-and-climate-change?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

The Climate Center Stands Against Racism, Police Violence and Environmental Injustice

The Climate Center stands in solidarity with communities of color and with the protesters in the streets. We join them in demanding an end to institutional racism, police violence, white supremacy, and the environmental injustices that many Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities experience daily.

Shared responsibility and equitable, inclusive solutions are fundamental values we strive to embody in our efforts to realize speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions.

Our urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. There cannot be climate justice without racial justice. Read more here.

Coronavirus is not just a health crisis — it’s an environmental justice crisis


Highlights

There are large disparities in COVID-19 deaths among people who have historically faced environmental justice issues within the US. 

  • African-American communities have historically been disproportionately housed near sources of large pollution, particularly in the South, leading these communities to develop asthma, cancers, and other respiratory problems
  • This life long exposure has lead to more COVID-19 deaths as poor air quality increases fatality from the virus 
  • Health experts particularly worried that overcrowded housing, lack of health insurance, and workplace exposure in jobs like agriculture will cause the number of cases to skyrocket within some latinx communities 
  • Lack of access to safe drinking water and underfunded health care are issues impacting infection rates within the Navajo Nation
  • Political scientist Fatemeh Shafiei, director of environmental studies at Spelman College, has found that low-income residents and people of color are disproportionately exposed to health-threatening environments in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces throughout their lives
  • Eliminating pollution exposure, and ultimately structural inequalities within the country, would dramatically improve the health and safety of these marginalized communities and lower the risk of COVID-related deaths

Lower-income communities are disproportionately affected by exposure to pollution from our fossil fuel economy through proximity to oil and gas wells, oil refineries, major highways, and other industrial areas. The Climate Center works to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for everyone in these communities


Read more: https://grist.org/justice/coronavirus-is-not-just-a-health-crisis-its-an-environmental-justice-crisis/