Progress is possible because it’s happening. Not only did the largest climate investment in U.S. history pass last year, but now we have a grade scale to rate our government efforts to invest in communities that are most impacted by climate change. We at Dream.org have goals of ensuring the following:
- 40% of climate investment associated with the Inflation Reduction Act goes to disadvantaged communities and/or populations.
- At least 15% of IRA climate contracts are awarded to minority-owned businesses, a 5% increase over current baseline averages..
- Federal funds associated with Justice40 are leveraged to secure private sector investment resulting in community-scale projects underway in 25 communities across the country (with geography and political affiliation taken into consideration) by 2032.
The first version of this “grade-scale” known as the Environmental Justice Scorecard (EJ Scorecard) was released this past April and it's a federal assessment that evaluates 24 federal agencies' efforts to deliver at least 40% of overall benefits from climate and energy investments toward disadvantaged communities.
Why Keeping Score is Important
Justice 40 is a transformative vision aimed at addressing the deep inequities and environmental injustices that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. It seeks to ensure that at least 40% of the benefits from federal investments in clean energy and climate resilience flow directly to these communities, which have historically borne the brunt of pollution and have had limited access to clean resources. Justice 40 aims to rectify this imbalance by fostering economic opportunities, improving public health, and empowering communities to actively participate in decision-making processes. By placing equity at the forefront, Justice 40 aims to create a more just and sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind.
Keeping track of our progress helps us identify whether we’re on the right trajectory to achieve Justice40 goals, but it also makes sure that we’re not being wasteful with our resources. EJ Scorecard along with the Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) will be regularly updated to help federal agencies and other stakeholders identify which communities need the most support.
Together We Made a Difference
Thanks to actions taken by thousands of supporters, we made a difference. Back in November, we sent the White House Council on Environmental Quality formal recommendations, urging them to incorporate core values in the first version of the EJ Scorecard: inclusion, transparency, and accessibility.
Out of our recommendations, two were adopted that are especially important:
- Environmental and Economic Metrics: These are measurable characteristics that define the wellbeing of a community such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, funding for clean energy projects, and job creation within federal agencies. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired 206 new staff to support their environmental justice work while making $14 billion available for funding that specifically supports disadvantaged communities. Now that EPA has billions in funding to reduce air pollution and increase access to clean energy technology, we want the agency to track the impact that green investments have on the environment and the economy. This way we approach the transition effectively and efficiently.
- Making Funding Opportunities and Progress Public: By using the CEJST and EJ Scorecard together, communities will be able to track how federal dollars are deployed and access potential funding opportunities they can pursue. For example, the DOE highlighted 253 technical assistance outreach events and 158 public processes related to environmental justice during Fiscal Year 2022.
If you’d like to read our full public comment, click here.
Progress is Happening, But We’re Not Done!
The wheels of progress are turning, but our journey is far from over! We stand at the cusp of change with the forthcoming release of Version 2 of the EJ Scorecard. However, we can't accomplish this task without your valuable support. Today, we call upon you to lend your voice once again and make a lasting impact!
Community input is the key to determining the most vital benefits. Let us strive for greater transparency, shedding light on the crucial aspects of job creation and bolstering the growth of minority-owned businesses.
Join us in this historic initiative, where passion meets action and change becomes reality. Together, we can make a profound difference and create a brighter tomorrow for all.
Join us on an Incredible Journey
Together, we have the power to hold our administration accountable and pave the way for environmental justice and equity. The key to unlocking this possibility lies in our collective action. Let us rally together and champion inclusive, transparent policies that uplift and empower disadvantaged communities. By subscribing to our newsletter, you become an essential part of the movement, actively shaping a sustainable, greener future for all. Your voice matters, and your actions can make a profound impact. Join us today and be a catalyst for change. Together, we can achieve extraordinary things.