In 2015, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan (CPP), in an effort to reduce power plant carbon emissions by 32% by 2030. The new policy plays a key role in the strategy to battle climate change in the United States, but fails to adequately prioritize folks living in frontline communities affected first and worst by climate change.
That’s why the Climate Justice Alliance released the Our Power Plan, a response from frontline groups and Environmental Justice communities, that identifies how the Clean Power Plan benefits and harms communities and presents a clear strategy on how to implement a Clean Power Plan that truly benefits frontline communities’ health and the country’s economy.
The divestment movement is winning. With more and more wins, it’s time to think not just about stigmatizing the fossil fuel industry, but building community solutions for the long haul.
But why is the Clean Power Plan important to youth? We know that the climate crisis also shows up as racism and economic injustice. For decades, coal power plants, contaminated water and leaked oil have polluted our homes, particularly in low-income and minority communities. We’re dedicated to a transition from fossil fuels that centers the livelihood of our people, and with the Clean Power Plan, we have the opportunity to demand REAL solutions that integrate equity and justice for all.
The goals of the Our Power Plan are to:
Strengthen organizing efforts of frontline, environmental justice communities for building grassroots power and promoting Just Transition strategies.
Assure that EJ provisions are in Federal and State Implementation Plans and multi-state processes;
Assure that carbon emissions are reduced and regulated at the source of pollution to protect frontline communities.
Urge reduction of co-pollutant emissions as well as greenhouse gases;
Eliminate loopholes that incentivize other extractive, dirty energy options such as natural gas, biomass, waste incineration, nuclear, etc.
Assure that energy conservation, efficiency, solar, wind and energy storage, zero waste, public transportation, ecosystem restoration, and regenerative plant-based organic agriculture are prioritized as carbon reduction strategies.
Assure that the CPP maximizes creation of quality, good-paying jobs and that communities of color and poverty have access to the jobs created through CPP implementation
The transition is happening, but justice is not guaranteed. That’s why it is so important that the fossil fuel divestment movement supports the expertise and experience of frontline communities, who have been resisting the climate crisis for generations, in achieving a just transition. We as youth organizers (and our allies) must leverage our power to follow the lead of the grassroots to create the world we want to see. Our fights are bound together, so we’d better start working together.
Supporting the Our Power Plan is the first step in creating a just transition to the economy and future that works for us all.