Class 8 – EJ, Just Transition

Class 8 – Monday, April 18, 2022

  • Targeting climate funding for environmental justice
  • Key Environmental Justice (EG) issues (carbon offsets, biofuels)
  • Just transition for workers and community

Required Readings

  2. About – Climate Justice Alliance
  5. (STOP at Statement on COP24 sitin)
  7. What is a ‘just transition,’ and why do we need one? » Yale Climate Connections


Optional Readings

  2. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance – (
  3. Global Campaign for Climate Justice –
    – platform –
  4. Biofuel or Biofraud? | Save Our Roots
  5. Tree planting does not often work:


3:40 Intro – review of class assignments

3:45 calls for Earth Day and April 30
4:00 News for this week

4:15 Environmental Justice – what is it, broader questions
– policy
– building diversity
4:55 – Mark news – Hearing; press conference on Renewable Capitol

– facebook page


5:05 ED – Sunrise – Norlite


4:00 Climate News

Climate News this Week

Biden Administration to Restart Oil, Gas Leasing on Public Lands

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it will resume oil and gas leasing on public lands, violating President Biden’s campaign promise to end new oil and gas leasing and locking in new extraction that thwarts his pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite its pause on new oil and gas leasing and drilling on publicly owned lands and waters, the Biden administration approved more drilling permits in 2021 than President Trump did in the first year of his presidency, according to federal data analyzed by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The oil and gas industry continues raking in record profits while communities pay the price. The watchdog organization Accountable.US reported in February that Shell, Chevron, BP and Exxon made more than $75.5 billion in profits in 2021, some of their highest profits in the past decade.

The communities most at risk from new fossil fuel extraction are primarily Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples, people of the global majority, and those on the frontlines of fossil fuel industry expansion. These are the same communities that turned out in record numbers to get Biden elected in 2020 and who have since been urging Biden to use his executive authority to fulfill his campaign promise and ban new federal fossil fuel projects.

Gina McCarthy to step down as White House climate czar

Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, has told confidants that she has been frustrated by the slow pace of climate progress and intends to step down in the coming months. She is expected to be succeeded by her deputy, Ali Zaidi.

4:15 Environmental Justice – what is it, broader questions
– policy
– building diversity

Show video – Frontline Youth: Fighting for Climate Justice – YouTube

Just Transition – don’t believe Green New Deal

4:15 Environmental Justice –
– policy
– building diversity

How communities of color are affected by climate change

Climate change is a threat to everyone’s physical health, mental health, air, water, food and shelter, but some groups—socially and economically disadvantaged ones—face the greatest risks. This is because of where they live, their health, income, language barriers, and limited access to resources. In the U.S., these more vulnerable communities are largely the communities of color, immigrants, low-income communities and people for whom English is not their native language. As time goes on, they will suffer the worst impacts of climate change, unless we recognize that fighting climate change and environmental justice are inextricably linked.

climate change is actually the product of racism. “It started with conquest, genocides, slavery, and colonialism,” she wrote. “That is the moment when White men’s relationship with living things became extractive and disharmonious. Everything was for the taking; everything was for sale. The fossil fuel industry was literally built on the backs and over the graves of Indigenous people around the globe, as they were forced off their land and either slaughtered or subjugated — from the Arab world to Africa, from Asia to the Americas. Again, it was no accident.”

Climate change arises principally from:

  • Profit-driven and growth-oriented systems of extraction, production, distribution and consumption that sacrifice the needs of the many and the well being of the planet for the interests of a few.
  • Unequal and exploitative economic and social structures that abuse the environment and breed even more inequality across countries, classes, gender, race and communities.
  • Policies and practices promoted by global corporations, rich, industrialized countries, international institutions and economic and political elites that perpetuate and foster these systems and structures.

Fight for Climate Justice! – Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice

  1. Fight for food sovereignty, for peoples’ rights to sufficient, healthy and appropriate food and sustainable food systems
  • The promotion of sustainable climate change resilient agriculture and agro-ecology;
  • Democratic access to land and land-based resources;
  • The rights of small food producers;
  • The recognition of women’s roles and rights in agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and pastoral systems;
  • Farmers’ control of seed diversity;
  • The global re-organization of food production and trade towards prioritizing consumption of locally produced food.
  1. Fight for peoples’ rights to sufficient, affordable, clean, quality water
  • For the sustainable, equitable and democratic us and management of water resources;
  • For the protection of water sources and watersheds from extractive industries, dirty and harmful energy projects.
  1. Fight for just transitions for all workers beginning with those in the dirty and harmful energy industries
  • Create jobs for building climate resilience and bringing down greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Defend and ensure the fulfillment of the rights of all working people including gender and reproductive rights;
  • Provide sustainable, decent and climate change resilient livelihoods and jobs for all.

Honor climate finance obligations to developing countries

  1. Replenish the Green Climate Fund to ratchet up climate action to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius global temperature rise, and fulfill developed countries’ commitment to provide $100 billion a year by 2020.
  2. Provide adequate and real money (in addition to Overseas Development Assistance) to scale up adaptation and ensure protection to climate migrants and those impacted by climate change.
  3. Developed countries must make new concrete pledges of public climate finance accompanied by a definite timeline for delivery.
  4. Commit to climate reparations to those most affected but least responsible for climate change.

Carbon Offsets

a broad coalition of over 170 NGOs, advocacy groups, and grassroots organizations spanning the globe released a statement opposing the usage of carbon offset programs, declaring that carbon offset programs are false solutions that will not solve the climate crisis.

Carbon offset programs are increasingly prevalent in corporate and governmental climate change plans.

  • Offsets cannot truly “offset” fossil fuel production:the latest science indicates that offsets cannot keep pace with large-scale carbon emissions.
  • Offsets perpetuate environmental injustice,allowing polluters to continue poisoning BIPOC and working-class communities.
  • Offsets are likely to increase greenhouse gas emissionsby allowing polluters to pollute while sequestering carbon in volatile, impermanent reservoirs.
  • Offsets often result in violations of the rights of Indigenous and tribal peoples,as Indigenous lands are increasingly targeted by forest offset project developers.
  • Offsets undermine sustainable farming and increase consolidation in agriculture, further entrenching factory farms and monoculture at the expense of small farmers, including Black and Indigenous farmers and Tribal Nations.
  • Offsets markets create conditions for fraud and gambling,prioritizing profit-seeking traders and speculators over economic and climate justice.

“Carbon offsets give the worst polluters in the world a free pass to keep polluting and exploiting, so it’s no surprise that offsets are a favorite of corporations and the politicians they’ve bought,” said Roshan Krishnan, Climate Finance Campaigner at Amazon Watch. “Offsets are a disaster for climate justice and Indigenous rights in the Amazon and across the world. As COP26 approaches, we demand immediate emissions drawdown and protection of Indigenous land rights, not market-based delay tactics and deception.”

Issues within Environmental Justice

Build diversity – but tend to diversify the speakers but not the audience

Goal of 35% go to disadvantaged communities

Challenges – poverty vs racism

Was the Civil Rights movement successful

Brownfield fight in NYS – lower cleanup standards in brownfields in EJ communities, then provide massive corporate subsidies in order to attract jobs – became big corporate welfare scandal

How to engage people of color – groups best when fighting a local problem not theory

The following “Jemez Principles” for democratic organizing were adopted by the participants.

1Be Inclusive If we hope to achieve just societies that include all people in decision-making and assure that all people have an equitable share of the wealth and the work of this world, then we must work to build that kind of inclusiveness into our own movement in order to develop alternative policies and institutions to the treaties policies under neo-liberalism.

This requires more than tokenism, it cannot be achieved without diversity at the planning table, in staffing, and in coordination. It may delay achievement of other important goals, it will require discussion, hard work, patience, and advance planning. It may involve conflict, but through this conflict, we can learn better ways of working together. It’s about building alternative institutions, movement building, and not compromising out in order to be accepted into the anti-globalization club.

2Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing To succeed, it is important to reach out into new constituencies, and to reach within all levels of leadership and membership base of the organizations that are already involved in our networks. We must be continually building and strengthening a base which provides our credibility, our strategies, mobilizations, leadership development, and the energy for the work we must do daily.

3Let People Speak for Themselves We must be sure that relevant voices of people directly affected are heard. Ways must be provided for spokespersons to represent and be responsible to the affected constituencies. It is important for organizations to clarify their roles, and who they represent, and to assure accountability within our structures.

4Work Together In Solidarity and Mutuality Groups working on similar issues with compatible visions should consciously act in solidarity, mutuality and support each other’s work. In the long run, a more significant step is to incorporate the goals and values of other groups with your own work, in order to build strong relationships. For instance, in the long run, it is more important that labor unions and community economic development projects include the issue of environmental sustainability in their own strategies, rather than just lending support to the environmental organizations. So communications, strategies and resource sharing is critical, to help us see our connections and build on these.

5Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves We need to treat each other with justice and respect, both on an individual and an organizational level, in this country and across borders. Defining and developing “just relationships” will be a process that won’t happen overnight. It must include clarity about decision-making, sharing strategies, and resource distribution. There are clearly many skills necessary to succeed, and we need to determine the ways for those with different skills to coordinate and be accountable to one another.

6Commitment to Self-Transformation As we change societies, we must change from operating on the mode of individualism to community-centeredness. We must “walk our talk.” We must be the values that we say we’re struggling for and we must be justice, be peace, be community.


Being anti-racist

As summed up by Patrisse Cullors and Nyeusi Nguvu, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, “Racism is endemic to global inequality. This means that those most affected – and killed – by climate change are Black and poor people”. It is for this reason that calls are now being made to centre racial equity and justice in seeking meaningful solutions for the climate crisis.

The direct linkages between environmental justice and racial justice have long been areas of research and activism, and the relationship between climate justice and racial justice builds on these connections.  Long-standing racist policies and practices – such as residential segregation, unequal educational opportunities, and limited prospects for economic advancement – have led to increased vulnerability of Black people to climate change impacts and by extension other global crises that may emerge.

In the United States, disproportionate percentages of people of colour live in places that are polluted with toxic waste, leading to negative health effects such as cancer, asthma, degraded cardiac function and high blood pressure. Research has also highlighted that race has a stronger influence on exposure to pollutants than poverty. This means it is likely that polluters not only site their activities in low income areas, but in some cases are actively selecting locations where there are high percentages of Black people in particular.

As Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, notes in his book How to Be an Antiracist, , it’s not enough to simply be “not racist.” “The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist,’” he writes. “It is ‘antiracist.’” To be an anti-racist, Kendi and others say, requires an understanding of history — an understanding that racial disparities in America have their roots, not in some failing by people of color but in policies that serve to prop up white supremacy. It also requires an understanding of one’s own position in a racist society, an acknowledgment that you can’t simply opt out of living in white supremacy by saying you’re “not a racist” — you have to actively fight against it. “

Just Transition

Just Transition strategies were first forged by labor unions and environmental justice groups, rooted in low-income communities of color, who saw the need to phase out the industries that were harming workers, community health and the planet; and at the same time provide just pathways for workers to transition to other jobs. It was rooted in workers defining a transition away from polluting industries in alliance with fence line and frontline communities.

“Just Transition” is a principle, a process and a practice. The principle of just transition is that a healthy economy and a clean environment can and should co-exist. The process for achieving this vision should be a fair one that should not cost workers or community residents their health, environment, jobs, or economic assets. Any losses should be fairly compensated. And the practice of just transition means that the people who are most affected by pollution – the frontline workers and the fenceline communities – should be in the leadership of crafting policy solutions.

Just transition strategies need to focus on entire communities, not just workers. From workers in local businesses that sell products and services to fossil fuel companies to the grocery stores clerks and café baristas who serve that sector’s workers and their families, people across the community are impacted when a major local industry closes. In addition, taxes paid by fossil fuel-intensive companies and their workers often make up a significant share of public budgets, funding essential services like road maintenance and schools.

4:55 – Mark news

Press conference on Renewable Capitol on Monday morning

– facebook page –

Submitted testimony to the NYS Climate Council – – asked other groups for their testimony- NY Renews, NOFA, Environmental Advocates – talking points

Met with the NYC Comptroller office – divestment; energy retrofit large buildings; school buses

Did 3 media stories – 2 on CCW bike trek; also story on state climate hearing – As part of the Climate Can’t Wait Earth Day Rally at the state Capitol on Friday, April 22, climate activists are planning a bicycle trek the week before from NYC to Albany. Michael Richardson of the River and Mountains GreenFaith Circle discusses the stop at Basilica Hudson on Thursday, April 21st and the role of the faith community in climate advocacy. By Mark Dunlea for Hudson Mohawk Magazine. See

To help build the Earth Day Rally at the state Capitol, bicyclists are riding from NYC to Albany as part of the effort to demand that New York State pass the Climate Can’t Wait package, which is crucial to meet the climate commitments NY made in 2019. Veekas Ashoka, Alex Graves, Andrew Wells, Alexa Jakob – all members of Sunrise Movement NYC – discuss why they are participating. For Mark Dunlea for Hudson Mohawk Magazine.

5:05 Earth Day – sign on – flyer?

No one has registered yet to go to the Earth Day rally