Creating a Just and Equitable Green New Deal

In a critical moment of accelerating climate risk and new opportunity to address the climate change crisis, Demos stands in solidarity with the members and leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance for their recent articulation of a clear vision and mandate for ensuring that a federal climate policy package in the form of a Green New Deal is grounded in core principles for a Just Transition of our economy—away from fossil fuel dependency and toward a regenerative economy, where we uphold the right of all to a healthy, livable future.

The Green New Deal is a vision for comprehensive national policy that addresses climate change at the scale and scope we need, creates living-wage jobs, and addresses racial and economic inequity by investing in communities. Demos supports a Green New Deal, and the leadership of House members and organizations like Sunrise Movement in advocating for a House Select Committee on a Green New Deal to develop federal climate policy solutions. These policies and the democratic process for their development must also center racial and economic equity and grassroots community voices to ensure that all have an equal say and an equal chance in the next economy.

Demos supports the powerful potential of a Green New Deal policy platform and recognizes that a just Green New Deal must embody the objectives, solutions, and democratic values of a Just Transition. Over decades of organizing with frontline communities, Climate Justice Alliance members have developed principles and policies for clean air and water, community resilience, tribal sovereignty, and social and economic inclusion of poor people and people of color. A Just Transition includes ending fossil fuel extraction, ensuring support for fossil-fuel workers displaced by a renewable energy transition, supporting inclusive economic development in frontline communities, regulating air and climate pollution to the fullest extent possible, and recognizing tribal sovereignty over land and natural resources. A Green New Deal must also avoid false climate solutions, such as geo-engineering and market-based mechanisms that can produce inequitable outcomes for communities, as the Climate Justice Alliance outlines.

To achieve a Just Transition, a Green New Deal needs to be bold, comprehensive, publicly-funded on a large scale, and inclusive of those who are most impacted by climate change and pollution, especially young people, people of color, and poor people. Previous federal climate policy efforts have not sufficiently consulted environmental justice advocates and climate-impacted communities. Winning a Green New Deal starts with supporting the leadership from the front lines. State and local organizations are developing solutions to the climate crisis today. As Green New Deal policies get designed, Demos encourages genuine outreach and deep listening by Congressional leaders and national organizations to state and local organizations and communities affected by climate change. This leadership should be centered through bottom-up policy design for a Green New Deal that reverses climate change and builds a just and equitable economy for all.