On Thursday, June 29, the Center for Progressive Reform hosted a webinar on Centering Justice in the Clean Energy Transition: Approaches from Likely and Unlikely States.
As significant funding for a clean energy transition from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act becomes available, advocates and decision-makers are working to ensure federal energy investments reach and benefit historically marginalized communities. However, the transition to clean energy is playing out differently across the country in states with different policy landscapes. There is a lot to learn from states – both likely and unlikely – about how to center justice in the transformation of our energy systems.
In this webinar, advocates and experts working in North Carolina, Louisiana, and California talked about the critical role of states in advancing the clean energy transition and centering justice. They also discussed some policy and regulatory challenges and opportunities they are confronting in their states and approaches for ensuring access to affordable clean energy that is also reliable, resilient, and does not exacerbate energy cost burdens for low-income households.
As a starting point for the conversation, the Center for Progressive Reform introduced its forthcoming Climate Justice Index, one piece of its Climate Justice Project in California. The web-based resource is intended for advocates and decision-makers in California and beyond to increase the transparency of the state’s climate governance and decision-making structures.
- Ajulo Othow, Founder & CEO of Enerwealth Solutions and a board member of Black Owners of Social Services (BOSS) is a recent awardee of a DOE grant. Ajulo is also a board member of the Center for Progressive Reform.
- Alvaro Sanchez, a leading expert and advocate in California who has been extensively involved in shaping almost $1 Billion in California Climate Investments and in other efforts across the state to deliver benefits to priority communities, he is the Vice President of Policy at The Greenlining Institute.
- Camille Manning Broome is a prominent member of the Louisiana Climate Initiative Taskforce and President and CEO of the Louisiana-based Center for Planning Excellence.
The Center is working to support partners and allies in North Carolina, Louisiana, California, and Maryland to secure state and federal policies that can help achieve climate justice and energy equity. A unifying thread across the work of advocates and frontline communities who are disproportionately harmed by the fossil fuel industry, impacted by the transition to clean energy, and most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change is the need to ensure that historically marginalized communities, and particularly low-income households, have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the clean energy transition.
- North Carolina is undergoing a transition to clean, renewable electricity. Unfortunately, the state’s decarbonization plan, which was recently developed by Duke Energy, fails to take equity and justice into full and fair account.
- The state of Louisiana has long been subject to exploitative extraction by the fossil fuel industry and to destructive storms that threaten the state’s energy infrastructure. While distributed and more resilient sources of energy are needed, the state is facing an onslaught of dangerous new industrial development in the form of carbon capture and storage in already overburdened communities.
- In California, despite laws that require funding minimums to target disadvantaged communities, barriers for underresourced communities persist, and disparities in the participation of low-income households, communities of color, and harder-to-reach communities in clean energy programs still need to be overcome.