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Equitable and Just Policies to Address Climate Change

Photo of Senator Mo Denis

Sen. Mo Denis (NV), NHCSL Energy, Infrastructure and Environment Task Force Chair

Sponsored by Del. Elizabeth Guzmán (VA)

Reported to the Caucus by the NHCSL Energy, Infrastructure and Environment Task Force
Sen. Moisés "Mo" Denis (NV), Chair

Unanimously ratified by the Caucus on December 5, 2019

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WHEREAS, the October 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 4th National Climate Assessment report indicated the extreme threat posed to and the immediate need to act on climate change. The reports indicated that-

  • Human activity is the prevailing cause of observed climate change;[1] and,
  • Climate change is causing sea levels to rise and an increased occurrence of wildfires, storms, droughts, and additional extreme weather events that threaten human lives, our communities, and public infrastructure;[2] and,
  • Devastating impacts on the planet if 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels occurs;[3] and,

WHEREAS, the aforementioned reports indicate a critical need to keep global climate temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized levels to avoid the most adverse impacts of a changing climate, which will require; and,

  • An unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy over the next 12 years; and,
  • Global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and,
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050; and,

WHEREAS, the term "Just Transition" is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable, and just for all its members;[4] and,

WHEREAS, “Blue-green” alliances between labor unions and environmental justice groups have been implementing just strategies out of their necessity to phase out harmful industries impacting workers, health conditions, and the planet;[5] and,

WHEREAS, the United States has a history of social issues impacting a significant portion of its population including but not limited to—

  • A declining life expectancy with a breakdown in basic needs, such as, clean air, water, healthy food, access to adequate health care, housing transportation, and education;[6]
  • A trend of wage stagnation and antilabor policies that have caused, an unwavering minimum wage since the 1970s, the degradation of public sector labor unions, and limited socioeconomic mobility;[7] and,
  • The greatest wealth and income inequality since the turn of the 20th Century with—
    1. A gender pay gap resulting in women being paid only 80 percent as much as their male coworkers;[8] and,
    2. A racial pay gap resulting in the average white household having a net worth of $144,200 which is roughly 13 times that of a black household;[9] and,
    3. A transitional shift in earnings with the top 1% of American earners have nearly doubled their share of national income;[10] and,

WHEREAS, the effects of climate change have intensified systematic social, environmental, and economic injustices by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, rural communities, the poor, low-income earners, women, the elderly, people with disabilities, and young people;[11] and,

WHEREAS, the impact of climate change has resulted in higher rates of serious public health issues including, asthma, cardiovascular disease, malaria, Lyme disease, respiratory allergies, cholera, malnutrition, mental health impacts, heart related illness and death;[12] and,

WHEREAS, climate change is a global destabilizing force that threatens the stability and security of the United States; and,

WHEREAS, the United States is responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions and must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation.

WHEREAS, on a list of 20 countries that emitted the most carbon dioxide in 2015, the United States ranked second with 4997.50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.[13]

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators will build a broad coalition intent on elevating issues at the intersection of economic, social, and environmental justice; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators will focus on retooling the nation’s economy with solutions that center on equity and justice; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators recognizes the need to and continues its work to transform our energy grid and transition away from fossil fuels by 2030; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators hereby endorses the following-

  • A just and equitable plan that leaves no workers of any communities behind; and,
  • Direct large investments and job-training programs in renewables, including, where available, union sponsored job training programs already in existence; and,
  • Creation of an energy efficient smart-grid for both residential and commercial energy consumers; and,
  • Preservation of clean air, water, and soil for all Americans; and,
  • Achieve net-zero emissions by 2050; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators enact policies that prepare communities across America to mobilize if a climate emergency occurs; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that in light of the situation and dire circumstances mentioned above, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators urges Congress and the President to recognize the duty of the Federal Government to combat global climate change.




Refer to page 10 on understanding global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius


Refer to section 1 in summary findings on communities


Refer to section B.5




Refer to Box 6-1 on Social Factors that Affect Health Outcomes


Refer to “But since the 1970’s, declining unionization has fueling rising inequality and stalled economic progress for the broader American middle class”


Refer to the section under highlights titled Earnings


Refer to the section on A growing wealth gap between blacks and whites


Refer to the graphic titled Top 1% Income Share Has Doubled While Poverty Has Held Steady


Refer to Section 1 on Communities and Section 7 on Indigenous Peoples


Refer to the graphic on the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health


Refer to the list of 20 countries that emitted the most carbon in 2015