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The bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIF) that just passed the Senate and is now set to come before the House will do little to solve the climate crisis and is dangerous to say the least. Given the release of the alarming first part of the IPCC report earlier this month and the just leaked draft of the third report which lays out that “to avert further climate chaos, global carbon emissions must peak by 2025 and all fossil fuel plants worldwide must be shuttered by the end of the decade;” it is critical that policy makers listen to the science and the longstanding demands of frontline communities and enact policies that will cut emissions at source.
Unproven techo-fixes such as Carbon Capture and Storage and other false promises such as nuclear energy, which are funded through the BIF, will not solve the climate emergency we face.
“Solutions to the climate crisis must not create additional environmental justice challenges. The fact that the phrase ‘environmental justice’ appears only twice in a 2,700- page infrastructure package proves that it’s a toxic manifestation of bipartisanship that gives more deference to the fossil fuel cartels than to our communities. The only chance we have at dismantling the climate crisis and saving lives in the process will be through a Just Transition with green jobs, not just-a-transition composed of green unicorn technologies that are unproven, profligate, and extractive. We call on the People’s House to do right by the people and fix the mistakes of the Senate.”
It is clear that to address the scale of the climate crisis and historical inequality faced by frontline communities we can’t rely on the BIF. Biden and the Democratic party must go further through a bold reconciliation bill that addresses climate, care, jobs and justice quickly. Historical harm, reducing emissions at source, and the continuation of sacrifice zones must be substantially and adequately addressed.
CJA calls on Congress and the Biden Administration to go bolder and ensure that the budget reconciliation bill is really the bill of our people and the planet! To do so, it must address environmental justice through significant climate, care, jobs and justice investments. This must include larger investments to reduce emissions at source quickly, while also expanding clean, affordable and accessible public transportation, retrofitting housing and public schools for energy efficiency and public health with comprehensive labor, equity and environmental standards built in. Rather than false promises we need significant resourcing of real solutions that cause no harm and advance racial, Indigenous, gender and economic justice; solutions that are grounded in local, community controlled renewable energy projects among others.
It is time for bold action from our elected leadership. We must reduce emissions at source and forge a Just Transition now; the time of appeasing the fossil fuel industry and other big business interests must end.