Achieving an Equitable Net-Zero Future
While critically important for the future of the planet, achieving net-zero emissions should not be our only goal. The policies we outline throughout this playbook are designed to be implemented so that they provide direct benefit to all communities. That includes addressing the historic environmental injustices that have disproportionately impacted low-income groups and communities of color, including Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, resulting in severe economic and public health disparities.
We believe it is imperative that lawmakers and decision-makers work to achieve net-zero emissions through equitable climate action as well as clean technologies that help transform rural, urban, and tribal communities by providing economic opportunities, building resilient green infrastructure, and improving public health. Across the Five Grand Challenges, climate policy should both be comprehensive and prioritize frontline and fenceline communities that disproportionately bear the burden of climate damages, while holding polluters accountable through strong enforcement.
Breakthrough Energy supports an inclusive policy process. Equitable climate policy should be developed with low-income communities and communities of color to ensure that they are designed to serve the needs of historically impacted communities. Active participation in climate policy by minority groups (i.e. Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities) can also help ensure that clean technologies are strategically deployed in communities that face the most severe economic and environmental disparities.
Our Equity Principles
Improve public health through equitable climate action
Sources of GHG emissions are often sources of other pollutants as well, such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. Communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately bear the brunt of health impacts caused by climate change and environmental hazards. Where possible, policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions should also be designed to reduce co-pollutants and mitigate health inequalities in disproportionately impacted communities.
Ensure clean energy and technologies are affordable for all
Climate policy should be designed to ensure that everyone has access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy. Successful climate policy will reduce the green premium of clean energy and technologies for low-income households and communities of color. Policy design should include safeguards to ensure that energy and fuel prices are not regressive and will not disproportionately impact communities of color and those that cannot directly access green technology.
Invest in high road jobs and disproportionally impacted communities
Direct investments in communities revitalize and stimulate local economies. Climate policies should ensure that investment and job creation are occurring in historically impacted communities. Investments should prioritize a just transition for fossil-based economies and provide resilient infrastructure and economic mobility options for rural and urban communities.