Given the scope of the damage from climate change, individuals, organizations, and specific jurisdictions have turned to litigation to hold industry accountable for past and continuing behavior. Such litigation is the only way those who have suffered climate-related damage can seek recourse for loss of homes, livelihoods, health, and the death and injury of loved ones. It could also have an important impact on climate change policy in the United States. Read CPR's November 2019 report on the trend toward state-based litigation.
Letter to Chairman Raúl Grijalva and Rep. Donald McEachin of the House Committee on Natural Resources offering support and comments on a proposed statement of principles for environmental justice legislation, from CPR's Richard Murphy, Sidney Shapiro, and James Goodwin, August 24, 2019.
CPR Perspective: International Environmental Justice and Climate Change. CPR's Perspectives Series is a set of monographs by CPR Member Scholars on timely and important health, safety, and environmental topics. Each Perspective provides a thumbnail sketch of the competing arguments concerning a substantive or procedural principle for developing appropriate health, safety and environmental policies, and closes with the Member Scholar-author's proposed approach to the issue.
Sarah Krakoff's February 26, 2020, testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States on harm done to tribal cultural sites during construction of President Trump's southern border wall.
On CPR's April 29, 2020, webinar, participants will hear from leading experts on pandemics, public health, and climate change, as part of our series of Climate Justice webinars. Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana is an expert in epidemic and disaster management, with decades of experience advising federal, state, and local officials on health security. Dr. Aaron Bernstein brings experience as a pediatrician on the front lines and cutting-edge expertise on the intersection of public health and climate change. Finally, seasoned environmental lawyer and CPR Member Scholar Daniel Farber offers expertise in legal and policy tools, such as the Stafford Act, that may be used to help protect vulnerable communities from bearing the greatest burden of the pandemic.
In April 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruled in favor of Hawaiian environmentalists who had waged a 12-year battle to ensure that sewage discharged into the Pacific Ocean via groundwater was subject to a Clean Water Act permit. CPR’s Member Scholars played important roles in convincing the Justices that we need a more scientifically relevant conception of the Clean Water Act’s coverage, and they joined key participants in the litigation in a May 28, 2020, webinar on the topic.
Coastal communities in the United States are largely unprepared for the projected effects of the climate crisis, including more intense storm surges, sea level rise, increased precipitation, and other drivers of coastal and inland flooding. That flooding is damaging enough on its own, but in recent years, chemical spills triggered by extreme weather, such as hurricanes, have become more frequent, exposing nearby communities to toxic chemicals and hazardous waste in the midst of natural disaster. In this web article, CPR's Darya Minovi discusses the danger and offers recommendations.
CPR's June 2020 fact sheet describes the threat of toxic floodwaters resulting from more and more severe weather events combined with a concentration of industrial facilities subject to flooding in the Hampton Roads region. Such toxic floodwater events would have a particularly severe impact on low-income and minority communities in the region.
October 2020 Webinar: High-risk chemical facilities and other hazardous industrial sites are disproportionately located near communities where Black, Brown, and low-wealth families live, learn, and play. In 2012, floodwaters from Superstorm Sandy submerged some of these facilities, carrying chemicals and heavy metals into people’s homes. On October 20, 2020, CPR hosted a webinar featuring experts on the topic.
With the nation approaching a pivotal election, 19 CPR Member Scholars contributed to a series of white papers proposing policy solutions for a just transition from carbon-based energy to renewables, with a particular focus on the environmental justice implications.
Our current pollution prevention policies are static in a time of great and rapid disruption driven by the climate crisis. The growing risk of harm from climate-driven industrial pollution and chemical disasters demands a just, innovative policy response. In our November 18 toxic floodwaters webinar, participants learned about the legal and policy challenges to addressing these hazards, as well as litigation and regulatory solutions proposed by leading experts and practitioners.
Commitments to ensure an equitable clean energy transition are gaining traction, with some states dedicating a portion of clean energy funding to historically marginalized communities and the Biden-Harris administration proposing to dedicate 40 percent of federal climate funds to achieving climate justice. These commitments are essential to realizing an energy transition for communities that would otherwise be left further behind and can help alleviate longstanding inequities. As these initiatives take shape, CPR is tapping the expertise of our climate and environmental justice scholars[BG1] and our body of work on climate justice. Over the next two years, we'll dig into the California example, researching the state's track record in implementing climate justice programs.