Friday, December 04, 2009

AAEA Somehow Overlooked in New EJ Climate Report

The Environmental Support Center has published a new report on environmental justice and climate change that did not include our views on these two vitally important issues. The report, "Everybody's Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change," appears to be skewed towards the general environmental justice movement position of opposing cap and trade. AAEA supports cap and trade as a legitimate solution to effectively addressing climate change and environmental justice. Maybe the report did not want to include this viewpoint. We believe that environmental justice is everybody's movement and all viable perspectives should be shared with the public.

Most participants in the environmental justice movement oppose cap and trade because they believe it will lead to 'Hot Spots' that will add to already disproportionate levels of pollution in minority communities. EJ opponents of cap and trade believe the large emitters will leave old dirty plants open in minority communities and put new and retrofitted facilities outside of these communities, thus producing the 'Hot Spots.'

AAEA addressses the 'Hot Spots' issue by promoting an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) that will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to large emitters and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate or prevent price shocks, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, increase the implementation of energy efficiency programs, promote community education and enhance health-related activities.

AAEA has been registered in the EPA Acid Rain Program for years. It is universally acknowledged that the Acid Rain Program, which is based on cap and trade, has been very successful as a mitigation tool. AAEA is registered in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap and trade program. We have established a carbon dioxide (CO2) clearinghouse and trading platform, the Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) in order to fully participate in mandatory or voluntary allowance trading and offset programs. We were one of the first environmental groups to incorporate environmental justice in addressing climate change from a viable mitigation perspective: Global Climate Change and the African American Community (Part 1) & Global Warming and the African American Community (Part 2).

Again, all perspectives should be shared in disseminating information about environmental justice and climate change to the public. Global warming is the most important environmental issue facing humanity today. Minority communities that are already disproportionately impacted by all types of pollution are also most at risk to the consequences of climate change. We cannot afford to marginalize any viewpoint or work that serves to mitigate global warming.

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