Report outlines how to make equity part of California’s low-carbon economy

September 13, 2016
By: Jacqueline Sullivan
Climate change stock photo

A new report from the Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy at UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education presents a climate policy equity framework to help California decision-makers reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting economic, social and environmental equity.

The framework presented in the report, “Building Equity, Reducing Emissions: A New Social Contract for California’s Climate Transition,” poses three questions to advance more sustainable and equitable policy design and evaluation:

  • Does the policy promote environmental justice? Vial Center researchers say that climate policy should aid the state’s most environmentally impacted and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities by reducing environmental health risks, expanding access to goods and services, and increasing community resilience and access to resources from public investments in low-carbon goods and services.
  • Does the policy promote economic equity? The authors recommend that climate policy generate high-quality, career-track and family-sustaining jobs in clean economic growth sectors, include efforts to create pipelines to these jobs for workers from disadvantaged communities, and support workers and communities in carbon-intensive industries at risk of disruption or decline due to climate policy.
  • Does the policy promote public accountability? Vial Center researchers suggest climate policy that embraces participation in decision-making, identifies and incorporates constituencies at every stage in the process, and relies on indicators that benchmark and measure progress on sustainability and equity goals while allowing needed policy adjustments. 

The report defines specific criteria under all three principles and presents available evidence on progress and remaining challenges, while also noting significant data gaps that prevent a full evaluation. 

A full news release about the report is available online.

Read more