June 26, 2012

NAACP's #NOCO2 Twitter Town Hall and EPA's Carbon Pollution Standards

Last Thursday marked 2 million public comments to the EPA in support of the Carbon Pollution Standards. Last night, during the last hours for comments, the NAACP held a Twitter Town Hall, where youth environmental and climate justice leaders discussed how communities of color are affected by carbon pollution and offered solutions. 

According to NAACP, “African Americans are twice as likely to die from asthma and more likely to die from lung disease in spite of lower smoking rates.” These facts make it difficult to deny that racism and white privilege are still huge obstacles in the way of creating a safe environment and healthy communities. Much of the conversation last night was centered around strategies and tactics for mobilization. Ideas discussed were expanding on the use of social media, offering scholarships for environmental justice leaders, and working more to take environmental justice conversations onto schools and campuses. One participant suggested that the issue of access to healthy food as a component of environmental justice has a lot of potential to empower low-income communties and communities of color.

A major point of agreement that emerged was the immense power and energy that lies within our generation to mobilize others and hold our leaders acountable. And today, we see that power manifested.

This morning, the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia upheld all of the EPA’s carbon pollution limits in a unanimous vote. The ruling creates the chance for the EPA to go forth with the first rules limiting carbon dioxide from new power plants, motor vehicles, and other industrial sources. The three judge panel called the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases "unambiguously correct." This decision clears the way for the EPA to move forward with much needed bold action in the realm of environmental justice to address the disproportionate effects of carbon pollution on low income communities and communities of color.