Climate Justice Communities Demand Bold Action in First 100 Days
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While this last week was dominated by coverage of white supremacist plans for insurrection, along with the myriad ways in which Trump and Republicans should be held to account, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities understand the true culprit is the very system which enabled white supremacy to grow in the first place: our racist, settler-colonial state. From inception, this inhumane model has extracted labor from our bodies and stolen from our lands. Ameliorating the existing racist social, cultural and institutional practices that have enabled this moment will require much more than a change in political party. To even begin the process will require bold and transformative policies crafted in deep consultation and partnership with Black, Brown, Indigenous Peoples and other working class communities.
Those living on the frontlines of our interconnected economic, social, democratic, and climate crises brought about the electoral victory celebrated today. For this reason, we hold President Biden accountable for delivering on his promises, starting today. Incremental policies that maintain or increase the existing sacrifice zones and further harm our communities are unacceptable.
In order to genuinely address the four overlapping crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, climate change, and racial equity, which the incoming administration has committed to making its most pressing priorities, during the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris Administration, we call on the President to immediately take these 25 key executive actions to build back fossil free by:
- Protecting and investing in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution, extraction and climate disasters;
- Rejecting new fossil fuel projects, eliminating giveaways to oil, gas, and coal corporations, and ending the era of fossil fuel production in a way that fosters a just and equitable transition for workers and communities;
- Launching a national climate mobilization to Build Back Fossil Free, deliver jobs, justice, create real solutions to reducing emissions, and opportunity for all;
Additionally, we call on the Biden/Harris Administration to:
- End evictions and stop utility shut offs. Direct the CDC in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to immediately extend, strengthen, and enforce national moratoria on all evictions and utility shut offs for the duration of the pandemic.
- Cancel rent, mortgages, and debt. Work with Congress and State and Local governments to suspend rent and mortgage obligations and all rent, utility, and mortgage debt as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as laid out by Right to the City Alliance and Human Impact Partners.
While we applaud reversing many of Trump’s policies, including rejoining the international community in the Paris Agreement, this is the bare minimum. Techno-fixes, market schemes, and false solutions to the climate crisis through neo-liberal paradigms like this are neither progressive nor beneficial to our communities. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which includes carbon offsets and other false mechanisms, should be eliminated from the agreement because it does not align with the values and tenets of climate justice or Indigenous and Tribal sovereignty. Maintaining or increasing sacrifice zones in our communities that are the direct consequence of neo-liberal market based approaches, such as the above and others like carbon market mechanisms and risky geoengineering projects, are not solutions. They are subsidies to Big Business that serve to continue the historical harm the newly-elected President Biden has committed himself to stopping. We need aspirational leadership, not more of the same. We have provided answers and solutions through various avenues, including but not limited to the THRIVE Agenda, Build Back Fossil Free, National Justice Housing Platform and A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy, and we will hold you accountable to making them happen.
We look forward to cultivating true partnerships with the Biden/Harris Administration that are based on the Jemez Principles and the wisdom of the frontlines, with effective solutions that are generated by the communities most impacted.
Quotes from Climate Justice Alliance Steering Committee Members
Dwaign Tyndal, Executive Director of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE): “Our communities are among the most polluted, most policed, and poorest in the country. We call on the Biden administration to reject austerity-based thinking and invest in solutions that center the people most harmed by extractive industry and environmental racism.”
Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE: “Covid19 and climate change are everyday reminders that conventional solutions can no longer be applied to unconventional challenges. The Biden Administration has an unprecedented opportunity to birth a new governance that centers equity, justice and frontline solutions. Whether the new administration decides to listen to communities and put the US on a course that is a departure from fossil fuel extraction and grass-tops solutions will become evident in the next 100 days.”
Jaron Browne, Organizing Director Grassroots Global Justice Alliance: “Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman said at today’s inauguration, ‘Being American is the past we step into and how we repair it.’ The mandate that the Biden Harris Administration steps into is this powerful call for bold action that begins to repair the profound legacy of colonialism, structural racism, extractivism, and social inequity. The BREATHE Act, the Green New Deal, the THRIVE Agenda and bold housing and fossil free executive action are the first steps toward repair, healing, and transformation as we usher in this new day.”
Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network: “We acknowledge Biden bringing the US back into the Paris Agreement. Under the global climate agreement there remains much to do to strengthen its implementation. Financial support for the fossil fuel industry has increased every year since the agreement was adopted to the tune of 2.7 trillion dollars, with fossil fuel financing dominated by big US banks. Given this dismal history of international cooperation and the inability to reduce emissions under the carbon market-focused Kyoto Protocol, we will continue to organize against the US relying on the false solutions of carbon pricing mechanisms that do not cut emissions at source. We push this administration to take real action towards keeping fossil fuels in the ground, as well as to provide support for equitable emissions reductions worldwide and just ways of building a global emergency effort to stabilize the climate at 1.5C.”