Contact: Olivia Burlingame 301-613-4767 [email protected]
The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) condemns in the strongest of terms the US Senate’s vote today to push through the Growing Climate Solutions Act – a disastrous piece of legislation that will increase harmful market based approaches to the climate crisis that we know have already had negative impacts on frontline communities. We are deeply concerned about the rush to bring it to a vote in the House.
Throughout the process of developing this bill, there has been no consultation with environmental justice groups who have the greatest body of lived knowledge regarding how the “carbon farming” proposed in this bill will affect already overburdened communities. Climate “solutions” cannot become environmental justice problems – and this piece of legislation is a step back from a commitment to racial justice and equity. This lack of consultation is contrary to the Principles of Environmental Justice and the Jemez Principles, which call for meaningful and concrete consultation with affected communities.
The concept of soil carbon storage holds inherent danger. Soil carbon storage is impermanent and sequestered carbon which can easily be released with changes in land management or severe weather conditions. This is not something to be taken lightly. These technical problems aside, taken on the whole, it can be shown that carbon markets like those this bill is designed to be part of, have largely exacerbated pollution in low-wealth, environmental justice communities. This latest effort to commodify the soil, which is a treasured wealth of humanity, is both risky and wrong. We cannot support it. In the words of Elizabeth Yeampierre, Co-Chair of Climate Justice Alliance, “False climate promises like this piece of legislation will create more environmental justice problems, in addition to those we are already facing. That is simply wrong.”