EJ Forum Principles of Climate Justice


Principles of Climate Justice (PDF)

1. Establish a zero carbon economy and achieve this by limiting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in
accordance with the levels advocated by the scientific community (25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050) through
mechanisms that are controlled by the public sector, generate revenue, are transparent, easily understandable
by all, can be set-up quickly and have a track record of improving environmental quality;
2. Protect all of America’s people – regardless of race, gender, nationality, or socioeconomic status – and their
communities equally from the environmental, health and social impacts of climate change. Ensure that any
solutions implemented to respond to or mitigate climate change do not violate human or environmental
3. Ensure that carbon reduction strategies do not negatively impact public health and do not further exacerbate
existing health disparities among communities. This includes crafting strategies that prevent the creation of
pollution hotspots, eliminate existing emissions hotspots in vulnerable communities, and reduce the
emissions of greenhouse gas co-pollutants in and near communities-of-color, Indigenous, and low-income
4. Require those most responsible for creating the impacts that arise from climate change to bear the
proportionate cost of responding to the resulting economic, social and environmental crisis. In setting the
proportionate cost of climate impacting activity, the full environmental, health, social and economic cost of
energy use from extraction to disposal must be included to accurately reflect the cost that energy use has on
our environment, our health and our communities;
5. Develop a national goal supported by legislatively dedicated resources to transition us from the fossil fuel
economy to the green, clean renewable energy economy by 2020;
6. Position the public sector to be a catalyst for change in the transition to the green, clean renewable energy
economy by dedicating some of the revenues generated by carbon reduction strategies to support green clean
renewable energy initiatives;
7. Create the opportunity for all Americans, especially people-of-color, Indigenous Peoples and low-income
Americans, to experience a just transition as well as participate in the creation and operation of a new green
economy by creating a workforce development program to grow living-wage, clean, safe, green jobs in the
energy sector and beyond;
8. Provide an economic and social safety net for low-income, people-of-color, Indigenous Peoples and those
vulnerable in the middle-income from the structural adjustments in the economy as we transition from the
pollution generating fossil fuel economy to the green, clean and renewable economy;
9. Ensure that the green economy has enough jobs for those who need to be retrained and those who
historically have been chronically underemployed, unemployed and/or excluded from unions; and
10. Ensure that people-of-color, Indigenous Peoples and low-income communities, who are and continue to be
disproportionately impacted by climate change, have the inalienable right to have our voices shape what is
the most significant policy debate of the 21st Century.

The Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change believes that climate change policies that
incorporate these principles are the way forward for the United States of America to restore our credibility nationally and globally on the issue of climate change while preserving the livelihood, health and safety of all Americans.