What do the NAACP, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, SEIU, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have in common?
a. They're calling for strong climate legislation to combat global warming
b. They're calling for strong economic legislation to combat the recession
c. They're calling for equal protection and equal opportunity for working class Americans
d. All of the above
The answer is D.
These groups have joined together with more than two dozen others (including Green For All) in a new alliance of economic justice, faith-based, labor, and civil rights groups.
Together they form the Climate Equity Alliance.
The Alliance, announced this morning through a national press teleconference, calls for strong climate legislation that protects and provides opportunity for low- and moderate-income Americans.
The Climate Equity Alliance represents how choosing between options a. and b. in the quiz above -- environment vs. the economy -- is a false choice. Strong climate legislation can, and must, be strong economic legislation.
If done right, climate policy can fight pollution and alleviate poverty at the same time. The shift to a low-carbon, clean, green economy can create large numbers of quality green-collar jobs for American workers, and lower energy bills for American households. A federal climate bill must deliberately advance principles of fairness, opportunity, and equal access.
The Climate Equity Alliance comes just in time. Last week a discussion draft of the Climate Bill (the America Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) dropped in the House of Representatives, firing "the opening shot in the battle about what we do about global warming".
It is essential that this bill be strong on climate and do right by American workers and families, not one or the other. Our planet and our people depend on it.
Members of Congress are trying to craft a bill that will be strong on climate, and politically viable enough to pass through Congress and signed into law. In order for an effective climate bill to pass, it'll need to take into account the needs of all kinds of people. Last summer's Warner-Lieberman climate bill was derailed from bogus -- yet largely unchallenged -- right-wing messaging that climate legislation was waging a "war on the poor."
The Alliance is committed to strengthening climate legislation which member organizations consider absolutely necessary to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income communities.
The Climate Equity Principles
The Alliance is brought together by a set of 6 principles:
1. Protect people and the planet: Limit carbon emissions at a level and timeline that science dictates.
2. Maximize the gain: Build an inclusive green economy providing pathways into prosperity and expanding opportunity for America's workers and communities.
3. Minimize the pain: Assist low and moderate-income families in meeting their basic needs.
4. Shore up resilience to climate impacts: Assure that those who are most vulnerable to the direct effects of climate change are able to prepare and adapt.
5. Ease the transition: Address the impacts of economic change for workers and
6. Put a price on global warming pollution and invest in solutions: Capture the value of carbon emissions for public purposes and invest this resource in an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
Those who are truly concerned with the future of our planet, and our people (both in the short and long term), must be a voice for strong climate legislation that protects and offers opportunity to all Americas.
The Climate Equity Alliance has stepped up just in time, to be that voice.
Follow Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/phaedrael