You are here

front line communities

Join the March to End Fossil Fuels

Our Green Transition May Leave Black People Behind

By Rhiana Gunn-Wright - Hammer & Hope, Summer 2023

I’m an architect of the Green New Deal, and I’m worried the racism in the biggest climate law endangers our ability to get off fossil fuels.

This summer, the earth raged. Fires in Maui and Canada, floods in Delhi and Beijing, heat everywhere — this is the beginning of the climate impacts scientists have long predicted, and the U.S. is unprepared in terms of everything from infrastructure to public health. And if I’m honest, I raged, too. Never in my life have I wished more to be a cyclone, blowing away everything in my path, or an earthquake, shaking everyone to their core until they take seriously the concerns of Black and Indigenous frontline communities.

August marked a year since the Inflation Reduction Act passed, arguably the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history. But the racist compromises and the marginalization of Black people and their demands that facilitated the bill’s passage have seeped into the climate movement, sowing division and narrowing discourse in ways that not only threaten to keep Black people at the bottom of a new green economy but also undermine efforts to address thornier issues, such as who owns energy resources or how to navigate conflicts about resource distribution and land use, questions that money alone cannot answer.

Episode 4: Exploring the Intersection of Labor and Climate Policy

Aluminum Revitalized

By Ariel Pinchot, et. al. - Blue Green Alliance, June 2023

As one of the most important metals for modern life, aluminum is all around us. From our bridges and high-rise buildings to our smartphones and kitchen appliances, this highly durable, lightweight, and conductive material is essential. It’s also a key ingredient for achieving our climate, jobs, and national security goals. As a primary component of solar panels, power lines, electric vehicles (EVs), and other clean technologies, aluminum is a building block of our clean energy solutions. At the same time, producing aluminum requires a tremendous amount of energy, and globally, the sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the world produces increasing amounts of this material for the clean energy economy, we must simultaneously decrease the emissions from its production in order to achieve global climate targets.

In the United States, our growing need for aluminum already far surpasses the dwindling output from our domestic primary production. As a result, much of the aluminum we use comes from abroad, including from countries where aluminum production is much more emissions-intensive. Increasing our aluminum procurements from highly-polluting overseas producers will only push our climate justice goals further out of reach. What we need to advance these goals is a secure, domestically produced supply of clean aluminum made with high-road labor standards.

Revitalizing clean aluminum manufacturing in the U.S. will not only cut a major source of climate pollution, reduce worker and fenceline community exposure to airborne pollutants, and secure a reliable supply of an essential material for clean energy—it will also create good jobs for hard-hit workers and communities, while supporting the current workforce and retaining existing jobs. This report lays out a set of targeted recommendations for getting there. After assessing the state of the domestic industry, we outline the employment, climate, and community benefits of revitalizing clean aluminum manufacturing and present a set of policy solutions that can help create and sustain a strong, clean aluminum industry.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

10th Annual Anti-Chevron Day

BPRA: A Win in the Fight for a Green New Deal

The Green New Deal in the Cities, Part 1: Boston

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, May 16, 2023

While the Green New Deal started as a proposed national program, some of the most impressive implementations of its principles and policies are occurring at a municipal level. Part 1 of “The Green New Deal in the Cities” provides an extended account of the Boston Green New Deal, perhaps the most comprehensive effort so far to apply Green New Deal principles in a major city. Part 2 presents Green New Deal-style programs developing in Los Angeles and Seattle, and reviews the programs and policies being adapted in cities around the country to use climate protection as a vehicle for creating jobs and challenging injustice.

Urban politics often seem to produce not so much benefit for the people as inequality, exclusion, and private gain for the wealthiest. Does it have to be that way? In cities throughout the US, new political formations, often under the banner of the Green New Deal, are creating a new form of urban politics. They pursue the Green New Deal’s core objectives of fighting climate change in ways that produce good jobs and increase equality. They are based on coalitions of impoverished urban neighborhoods, disempowered racial and ethnic groups, organized labor, and advocates for climate and the environment. They involved widespread democratic mobilization. A case in point is the Boston Green New Deal.

How to Win a Green New Deal in Your State

By Ashley Dawson - The Nation, May 11, 2023

New York passed a publicly funded renewable energy program. This is how DSA did it—and how you can too.

New York just became the first US state to pass a major Green New Deal policy. After four years of organizing, the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) is now in the New York state budget. Passage of the act is a massive challenge to fossil fuel hegemony and a major victory for public power.

The BPRA authorizes and directs the state’s public power provider—the New York Power Authority (NYPA)—to plan, build, and operate renewable energy projects across the state to meet the ambitious timetable to decarbonize the grid mandated by the Climate Act of 2019. The NYPA, the largest public utility in the country, provides the most affordable energy in the state, but until now, it has been prohibited from building and owning new utility-scale renewable generation projects because of lobbying by profit-seeking private energy companies.

How did we win passage of this plan to start a publicly funded renewable energy program?

The Public Power NY movement began in late 2019 with a campaign organized by the eco-socialist working group of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) against a rate hike request from the private utility ConEd. According to a 2018 report from the US Energy Information Administration, ConEd was already charging the second-highest residential rates of any major utility in the country (nearly double the national average), and now they wanted to raise electricity rates an additional 6 percent and gas rates by 11 percent.

To thwart this request, the Public Power campaign did intensive research into the for-profit utility’s recent history and found that though ConEd was making a billion dollars per year in profits, it had threatened to shut off power for 2 million low-income New Yorkers in 2018. Moreover, ConEd had failed to carry out grid upgrades that it had received $350 million to perform, a failure that left the power grid in an increasingly unstable state.

The Perfect Storm of Extraction, Poverty, and Climate Change: A Framework for Assessing Vulnerability, Resilience, Adaptation, and a Just Transition in Frontline Communities

Pursuing a Just and Renewable Energy System: A Positive and Progressive Permitting Vision to Unlock Resilient Renewable Energy and Empower Impacted Communities

By staff - The Climate and Community Project, et. al., May 2023

It is indisputable that the climate emergency requires the United States to rapidly transform its majority fossil energy system to 100% clean and renewable energy.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent sixth synthesis report makes absolutely clear that an unprecedented bold transition to renewable energy with an equally aggressive effort to halt new fossil fuel development and phase out existing fossil fuel usage is absolutely vital to avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

This necessary transformation presents a tremendous opportunity to pursue a far more just path forward—one that ends the status quo entrenchment of the fossil fuel industry; empowers federal agencies to use their authorities to accelerate the transitions to a justly sourced, justly implemented, resilient, and equitable power system; actualizes the principles of environmental justice; and preserves our core environmental laws.

This system is composed of our most commonsense and affordable solutions that can be deployed in an efficient and just manner: energy conservation, distributed and resilient renewable energy and storage, and responsibly-sited utility-scale renewables, all paired with robust community engagement and opportunities for real energy democracy.

However, both Congress and the Biden administration are failing to exercise their imaginations to embed justice in a renewable energy future.

After the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, both Democratic and Republican Congress members have proposed numerous “permitting reform” proposals, but the majority continue to argue that achieving a fast transition to renewable energy necessarily means undermining bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

This false logic must be interrogated. While these proposals might marginally improve the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy particularly on pristine lands, our energy needs can and must also be met with renewable energy on built surfaces that is more resilient, affordable, and respectful toward communities and wildlands.

Furthermore, any such purported gains of “permitting reform” proposals would be massively dwarfed by the emissions of fossil fuel projects that would also be expedited and result in deepening substantial environmental injustices for countless communities around the nation.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.