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50 Envtl. L. Rep. 10216 (2020)
Environmental Justice, Just Transition, and a Low-Carbon Future for California

handle is hein.journals/elrna50 and id is 220 raw text is:    Copyright © 2020 Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELRO, http://www.eli.org, 1-800-433-5120.


     ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, JUST TRANSITION,


 AND A LOW-CARBON FUTURE FOR CALIFORNIA



                   byJ.   Mijin   Cha,   Madeline Wander, and Manuel Pastor

        J. Mijin Cha is an assistant professor at Occidental College. Madeline  Wander   is a senior data
        analyst at the Program for Environmental and  Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern
        California (USC). Manuel   Pastor is a distinguished professor of sociology/American  studies and
          ethnicity, Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC,  and director of PERE.

                                                SUMMARY

We  must substantially reduce carbon  emissions within a short time line, and this rapid decarbonization will cause
negative  economic  and  social impacts on workers  and  communities  dependent   upon fossil fuel extraction and
use. Just transition often refers to addressing the needs of those communities, but an equitable transition into a
low-carbon  future should also take into account environmental justice communities that have suffered from dispro-
portionate exposure  to environmental  hazards  and that could and  should benefit from job creation. This Article
presents the results of a community-informed research project analyzing the challenges and opportunities of a just
transition for environmental justice communities in California. Through interviews, case studies, and original data
analysis, a framework  for just transition policy development is presented built on four pillars: strong governmental
support, dedicated funding  streams, diverse and strong coalitions, and economic diversification.


The signs that the climate crisis is   already here are
       clear. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on
       Climate Change  report has detailed the evidence
from more  than 6,000 studies that over the past decade,
a series of record-breaking storms, forest fires, droughts,
coral bleaching, heat waves, and  floods have occurred
around the world in response to the 1°C of global warm-
ing that has taken place since the pre-industrial era.1 These

Authors' Note: The authors would like to thank the 11th Hour Project
for funding this research. We also thank the Climate Equity Network
for supporting this research as well as its partnership, feedback, and
invaluable ideas and insights along the way. Thank you also to Strategic
Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education and the California Envi-
ronmental Justice Alliance for coordinating and convening stakeholder
feedback, and to our interviewees-Mariah Ashley (Black Mesa Water
Coalition), Lauren Breyneart (outreach manager, Yes on 1631), and Ivy
Brashear (Appalachian transition coordinator, Mountain Association for
Community Economic Development)-for taking the time to discuss their
experiences and share their wisdom with us. Finally, we thank the larger
research team: Occidental College undergraduate research assistants
Spruce Bohen and Jacqueline Dall for data collection and case study
support former USC PERE Data Management Specialist Gabriel Wat-
son and Occidental College Professor James Sadd for data cleaning
and geographic information system analysis; Occidental College Se-
nior Program Coordinator Sylvia Chico for administrative support USC
PERE Senior Communications Specialist Gladys Malibiran for communi-
cations support and former USC PERE research assistants Sandy South-
ivilay and Stina Rosenquist for copy editing.
1. INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE, GLOBAL WARMING OF
    1.5'C 5 (Valerie Masson-Delmotte et al. eds., 2018), https://www.ipcc.ch/
    srl5/.


events, and the losses associated with them, are expected
to become substantially worse with 1.5°C of warming cur-
rently targeted by global climate agreements, and far worse
if these agreements are not effective.2 Without major cuts
in greenhouse gas (GHG)  emissions, this warming thresh-
old could be reached in as little as 11 years, and almost
certainly within 20 years.3
   Any chance of staving off even worse impacts from cli-
mate change  depends  on significant reductions in GHG
emissions and a rapid shift from a fossil fuel-based econ-
omy  to a low-carbon economic  future. While this tran-
sition is fundamentally necessary, the challenges it poses
are great. Though declining, the crude petroleum, natural
gas extraction, and coal industries employed more than
one million workers in 2016.4 Oil and gas mining alone
contributed more than $600  billion to U.S. gross domes-
tic product in 2018.5 Replacing the employment and eco-
nomic  contributions of fossil fuels will require substantial
investment and planning.
   With  a federal Administration hostile to action on
climate change,  aggressive climate action must neces-
sarily be led by states and localities. The size of many


2. See id.
3. See id.
4. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, U.S. ENERGY AND EMPLOYMENT REPORT 40-
   42 (2017), https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/01/f34/2017%20
   US%20Energy%20and%20Jobs%2OReportO.pdf.
5. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Industry Data, https://apps.bea.gov/iTable/
   iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1 (last visited Jan. 5, 2020).


ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER


50 ELR 10216


3-2020

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