A Research Action Collaborative

The Achieving Climate Justice Through Climate Mitigation Project is an ongoing research collaborative undertaken in partnership with three centers, the Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School, the Center for Earth Energy and Democracy, and the Watson Institute for Urban Environmental Policy at Thomas Edison State University. The purpose of this partnership is to enrich the empirical case for integrating environmental justice considerations into climate mitigation policies at the state and national level. Increasing attention is turning to the critical role that states can play in implementing climate mitigation strategies that can reduce the United States' contribution to climate change. While the federal government is abdicating all leadership on climate policy nationally and internationally, states will be important testing grounds for climate mitigation and related energy policies.

This "research-action" project posits that environmental justice should be embedded in climate mitigation policies as a central goal and focus. Specifically, we purpose examining in depth the environmental justice implications of climate mitigation and energy policies based on two key indicators: 1. Emissions reductions potential at the source of carbon emissions, and 2. The impact on and access to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments by environmental justice communities. We are currently focusing our efforts on Delaware, Minnesota and New Jersey, three states where our principle investigators have extensive experience and a network of on-the-ground environmental justice advocates.

Clean Power Plan

In 2015, the Tishman Center partnered with environmental justice scholars to evaluate the justice implications of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Center hosted several visiting scholars and public panels to discuss some of the primary environmental justice concerns arising from an evaluation of the policy. Three white papers were produced which take an in-depth look at a variety of issues including: emissions reductions at the source from power plants in environmental justice communities, potential EJ impacts from carbon trading, challenges related to clean energy opportunities, incentives for dirty energy, loopholes for incentivizing waste burning and the history of the EJ movement’s engagement in climate policies.

The Tishman Center also partnered with Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative (BEA-I) to host webinars for philanthropy and environmental justice communities and the general public interested in learning about the results of the Visiting Scholar’s research.

The repeal of the CPP, the proposed defunding of environmental justice initiatives within the USEPA and the uncertainty of the US’s position on the Paris Climate Agreement under the current administration, means that new strategies for tackling climate mitigation and environmental justice concerns must be pursued.


Read the White Papers:
Executive Summary

Achieving Emissions Reductions For Environmental Justice Communities Through Climate Change Mitigation Policy
Dr. Nicky Sheats, Thomas Edison State University, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

Environmental Justice And The Clean Power Plan: The Case of Energy Efficiency
Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy

Garbage, Power And Environmental Justice: The Clean Power Plan
Dr. Ana Isabel Baptista, The New School