Environmental justice is the fair treatment and involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with consideration to the development, fulfillment, and application of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
In the U.S., white Americans benefit from breathing in 17% less pollution than they put out, while African Americans breathe 56% and Hispanic/Latino Americans inhale 63% more. Black, First Nations, and Indigenous communities live where negative health, quality of life, and economic outcomes of global pollution are the hardest and are expected to get worse. In the US, African Americans are 75% more likely than white people to live in areas near commercial facilities that produce more pollution. Residents near these areas breathe in the most pollutants, which could lead to various health problems. More than twice as many African American children suffer from asthma compared to white children, because of their residence.
In order to have a just transition into a clean energy economy, it is crucial to protect the welfare of workers and vulnerable communities and call on corporations to enact measures to address serious and growing inequality.
Catastrophic climate impacts and bank lending, the world’s largest source of finance, play a major part in the shift to a clean energy economy. 33 global banks have provided $1.9 trillion in financing to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Agreement was signed. By financing through banks and insurance companies, the United States is stretching the power of fossil fuels in the energy supply and delaying a transition to a clean energy economy. Some of the major banks and insurance companies have started to recognize their part in this climate risk, but most have failed to adapt to change.
Since 2016, European banks have paid over $400 billion to the top 50 companies expanding oil and gas production including HSBC paying $59 billion, Barclays paying $48 billion, and BNP Paribas paying $46 billion. The New Zero Banking Alliance members have paid $38 billion in financing to the top 50 upstream oil and gas expanders since the start in April 2021. Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC provided half of the amount.
Companies spend millions in direct lobbying, leadership support in numerous trade associations, policy-focused nonprofits, and advocating against climate progress and policy to block or delay federal and state regulations that help stop the climate crisis. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable are some of many publicly traded corporations that continue to fight progress on climate-related regulations and legislation. Others, challenge the change to clean and renewable energy, prohibit corporate climate disclosures at the SEC and stop financial institutions from decreasing their exposure to fossil fuel risks. In order to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius, there is a need for strong market signals to reduce emissions and attract a shift to a clean energy economy.
Just Transition to a Clean Energy Economy
A Just Transition is a climate movement that suggests a racially and economically fair, decarbonized economy by prioritizing better labor standards, human rights, and inclusive growth within a corporation and focuses on workers and communities affected by the transition. Organizations and corporations must stay within the net zero requirements of the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by 2050 and be consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, to meet the standards for a clean energy economy.
Communities of color have suffered the impacts of corporate pollution and other environmental impacts from historical politics that created environmental racism. It is important to recognize that Indigenous people, whose land is used to generate wealth and experience a greater hardship of climate change impacts, are often excluded from decision-making.
Methane Emission Reduction
Methane emissions are lethal contributors to climate change and play a huge role on global temperatures which are roughly 84 times that of carbon dioxide over a period of 20 years. In 2021, a group of 168 global investors representing $6.23 trillion in assets released a statement demanding stronger methane regulations and enforcement. 35 companies received the investors’ statement, including BP p.l.c, Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and more.
How to Reach Us
SRIC is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; our Tax ID is 74-2846727. All contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, please contact Anna Falkenberg, PhD, Executive Director:
285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio TX 78216