Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing low-income communities and communities of color in California and across the globe. Despite being an international leader on climate, many of our policies fail to address the needs of communities who are already bearing the burden of dirty fossil fuels and who will be hit first and worst by climate change. The climate crisis creates new opportunities to advance our overall vision and political leadership.
Communities on the frontlines of climate change are stepping up their leadership in coordination with international allies. Communities fighting dirty power plants are fracking are joining with international indigenous communities fighting land grabs through offset agreements. This growth and alignment was evident at the People’s Climate March in New York in 2014, where we clearly saw how the leadership of communities directly impacted by the causes and consequences of climate change is finally being recognized as key to the success of any major changes in climate policy.
With climate change becoming an even stronger political force, and the leadership of communities most impacted become even more important, now is the time to shift the paradigm so environmental justice communities are prioritized in California’s climate policy.
- We need to put equity at the center of the climate debate to ensure that environmental justice is a priority in climate policy.
- We believe that environmental justice communities should play a central leadership role in climate policies so the most vulnerable communities are not left behind.
- We believe the California climate policy needs to protect and benefit environmental justice communities by reducing toxic hotspots, implementing strong regulatory measures, and speeding our transition off fossil fuels.
We are building a broad movement to organize our base on climate justice because we see that environmental justice communities need drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and related pollutants that harm air quality and public health. We believe that California’s current regulatory system to address climate change, cap and trade, will not get us there. As our state develops long-term, large-scale policy solutions, we have a unique opportunity to address long-standing environmental justice issues as well as fight climate change.