New Climate Policy Platform Centers on Social and Worker Justice
175 Organizations Support Sweeping Policies to Limit Greenhouse Gases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 13, 2020) — Members of the U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN), a network of more than 175 U.S. organizations, today announced the Vision for Equitable Climate Action, a new policy platform that is necessary to combat the climate crisis effectively while advancing justice for workers and frontline communities.
The platform proposes coordinated political action at all levels of government to prevent a climate disaster. Policy positions include transitioning the electric grid to 100% renewable energy, replacing internal combustion engines with zero-emission vehicles, implementing sustainable agricultural practices, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, updating building codes and retrofitting existing buildings — with the ambitious goal of making all of these changes on the timelines that climate science says is necessary to have a substantial chance of avoiding more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.
“We’ve produced the first U.S. climate policy agenda that is ambitious enough to meet the climate challenge while centering equity and justice,” said David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program and a co-chair of the team that drafted the platform. “USCAN is the broadest U.S. network of climate groups, and we drafted the platform through the most open and inclusive process to date, taking pains to center voices that usually go underrepresented.”
The platform will serve as the basis of policy demands used by Arm in Arm, a new campaign to build a mass climate movement.
Over nearly two years, more than 175 people from at least 106 organizations participated in developing the platform. Not all network members take a position or agree on every detail in the platform, but all support its overall urgency, scale, ambition and focus on justice.
The platform will be updated annually in response to new developments or perspectives. Participants included those who have been harmed the most by dirty energy infrastructure and pollution. Structural racism and economic injustice have meant that those who are least responsible for the climate crisis and have the fewest resources to adapt are being hit hardest, including frontline and indigenous communities, workers, farmers, youth, rural populations and people in the Global South.
“Any movement to address the urgency of the climate crisis must be rooted in the experiences of communities most impacted,” said Lindsay Harper, former co-chair of the team that drafted the platform. Harper is the national coordinator for Arm in Arm and former executive director of Georgia WAND. “Frontline communities had a major voice in drafting this platform, and those contributions make it more comprehensive and thereby valuable for both policymaking and movement building.”
While tackling climate change, the VECA proposals address other systemic problems revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as gross economic disparities, the inequity of health care delivery and the fragility of our unsustainable food system. They also offer pathways to economic recovery from the pandemic-induced economic crisis, as they would create millions of well-paying jobs while eliminating trillions in wasteful spending on fossil fuels and the health harms they cause.
“The breadth and depth of lived expertise that exists in the platform make it a rich resource for framing equitable and forward-thinking policy solutions and for building the political support to enact them,” Harper added.