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People & Planet First Brief

100-year floods every year. Category 5 hurricanes. Extreme droughts and wildfires. The climate crisis is impacting people right now—disproportionately vulnerable communities— and is an existential threat to our future. We will defeat the climate crisis by mobilizing our nation and our partners around the world to immediately and equitably reduce greenhouse gas emissions, phase out fossil fuels, invest in frontline communities, and build a 21st Century clean energy economy.

As president, I will both protect our planet and grow our economy for a just and sustainable future.

  • As my first official act, recommit the United States to the Paris Climate agreement and convene world leaders to negotiate an even stronger agreement to combat the climate crisis.
  • Commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions in the United States by 2045 and worldwide before 2050.
  • Establish a Clean Energy Standard to guarantee ensure all US electricity is carbon-neutral by 2030 and is clean, renewable, and zero-emission by 2035.
  • Create a Clean Transportation Standard to require all new light and medium-duty vehicles be zero emission vehicles by 2030 and all vehicles be zero emission vehicles by 2040, at the latest.
  • Implement a zero emission building standard to take effect for new construction after 2030.
  • Invest in programs to eliminate carbon emissions in agriculture and land use through reforming economic support programs for farms to meet climate goals.
  • Establish a National Climate Council to implement federal climate policy.
  • Significantly increaseInvest in research and development of clean technology and establish programs to support exports of American clean manufacturing and technology deploy it around the globe.
  • Combat environmental discrimination and advance environmental justice with new civil rights legislation.
  • Require “Equity Scoring” of all federal projects to ensure impacts on front-line communities are accounted for in policies.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through maximized executive action and a renewed Clean Power Plan.
  • End fossil fuel subsidies, the permitting of federal lands for fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and implement a managed phase-out of fossil fuels.
  • Create an “Economic Guarantee for Fossil Fuel Workers” to support energy workers in a just transition as we move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
  • Implement “Carbon Scoring” to measure the impact of federal spending on climate goals and ensure each federal dollar meets benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions in the drive to net zero.
  • Prepare for climate change-driven migration by supporting vulnerable countries with investments in resilience and proactively managing migration by defining a new category of “Climate Refugees” for people displaced by the climate crisis.
  • Require zoning reforms that support climate goals.
  • Defend biodiversity and our natural infrastructure to improve climate resilience by protecting at least 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030, setting a goal to plant plant 30 billion trees by 2050.
  • Strengthen nuclear safety requirements and invest in nuclear waste disposal technology to ensure communities are not forced to accept nuclear waste without consent, including at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

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Introduction

People and Planet First

Parts 1 & 2: Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience

Right now, the climate crisis is already devastating our communities, our homes, and our families. Severe storms, deadly hurricanes, massive floods, extreme droughts, and wildfires are now a normal occurrence, destroying homes and businesses, and shrinking our economy. Toxic pollution is poisoning the water we drink and the air we breath. People are being forced to leave their homeland, becoming climate refugees. Carbon emissions are warming our planet and causing sea levels to rise. More than a million species are on the brink of extinction due to human activity.

This crisis is the greatest existential threat to our future, but we have the power to mobilize the greatness of America.

Together, we will direct $10 trillion in federal, state, local, and private investments over the next decade to create ten million good paying jobs, transition away from fossil fuels, build a 100 percent clean-energy economy, and lead the world in the 21st century.

In my role as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, I saw the devastation of superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and “hundred year” floods that visited the same towns over and over again. During my tenure, two-thirds of the counties in the United States suffered a major climate-sparked disaster. In the aftermath of these events, I often visited homes that were destroyed along with all the mementos that generations of a family had collected and saved. Climate change damages more than buildings and roads. Parents lose their jobs when a business closes, children miss days and even weeks of school when a storm shuts down their schools, and our elderly are at great risk when rising water enters their homes. We lose friends, family, and neighbors to this weather. These costs are immeasurable.

The climate crisis affects everyone, but those who are already struggling to pay their bills in this economy may miss a payment for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. When disaster strikes, it can wipe out their financial stability. For those living in poverty, a flood can mean homelessness or housing insecurity. This issue disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income Americans.

I look at the climate crisis through the lens of how it affects people.

I think about the homeowners I visited in the Rockaways of New York City who rebuilt after superstorm Sandy, and the folks I met in Louisiana after a 500-year-flood wiped out their homes. I’ve met people all over this country who have been directly affected by the climate crisis. These are folks who we can’t afford to leave behind. And we won’t. In my administration, we will invest in environmental justice and climate resilience with an emphasis on frontline communities, people who are at the forefront of combating climate change, and families who have borne the unequal burden of pollution. As we transition to a fairer and cleaner economy no one will be left behind. Everyone in our nation counts: energy workers and communities of color, rural towns and coastal cities, working families and small businesses. Together, we will both protect our planet and grow our economy.

Last year, the UN's Intercontinental Panel on Climate Change told us we have 12 years to transform our economy to avert untold environmental catastrophe. Inaction is not an option. In the last 40 years, climate disasters have cost $1.6 trillion with an average of six events per year. But that’s doubled in the last five years, with over 12 extreme climate disasters every year. Severe weather events are becoming more intense and more frequent, threatening not only frontline communities, but economic growth, critical infrastructure, and public health in every part of the nation. For example, with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, almost 3,000 people died and over 3 million more were displaced.

Our vision begins with an ambitious and achievable timeline.

That’s why my first executive action, will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and rally the international community to go further, achieving worldwide net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To reach that global target, the United States will achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 and at least a 50 percent reduction by 2030. We will mobilize our entire nation around a mission for all electrical power to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and be entirely clean, renewable, and zero-emission by 2035. We must also invest in manufacturing, research and development, raise standards to ensure new light- and medium-duty vehicles and buildings are zero emissions by 2030, and double federal investment in public transportation to electrify buses and expand public transit. These sectors are critical because combined they contribute over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the next decade, we will significantly reduce carbon emissions by transitioning off of fossil fuels to clean energy. We will immediately stop the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and end all taxpayer subsidies of fossil fuel production. By 2030, we will replace all electricity generated by coal to zero-emission sources. I support a new “carbon pollution fee” on up-stream, large-scale polluters for greenhouse gas emissions and investing that revenue in renewable energy, environmental justice, and climate resilience.

This bold climate action and nationwide mobilization will create 10 million good job opportunities in a 100 percent clean energy economy.

In my first 100 days, I will propose new civil rights legislation to address the disparate impact of environmental discrimination and dismantle structures of environmental racism.

Communities of color and low income communities are more likely to live next to polluters and breathe polluted air. More than half of the 9 million people living near hazardous waste sites are people of color. Black children are twice as likely to have asthma as white children and black children are 10 times more likely than white kids to die of complications from asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Trump’s own EPA issued a study. that wrote, “results at national, state, and county scales all indicate that non-Whites tend to be burdened [by pollution] disproportionately to Whites.” The problem is that, like our neighborhoods, pollution is segregated. When I’m president, environmental justice will be a top priority. We will empower the EPA to make sure polluters pay and that victims receive just compensation. We will reinstitute the Superfund tax, clean up brownfields, and ensure hybrid disasters like the Flint water crisis receive emergency funding. For generations, underserved communities have been suffering from the effects of pollution and a degraded environment, and our time to rectify it is now.

I will also establish a National Climate Council to coordinate the federal government's climate action. We will implement a renewed Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emissions, regulate methane gas through executive action, establish Buy Clean procurement standards, and continue improving energy standards for appliances and homes. We will also create a national clean energy standard, invest in research and development to bring clean technology to commercial viability, invest in export assistance to promote American clean manufacturing, and use “carbon equity scoring” to invest for the maximum impact on environmental justice objectives.

Building climate resilient communities means investing in physical, natural, and social infrastructure. We will start by creating a $200 billion Green Infrastructure Fund to invest in physical infrastructure such as smart grids and electric vehicle charging stations. We’ll also protect communities from financial and natural disasters by strengthening the National Flood Insurance Program, updating flood maps nationwide, expanding HUD’s competitive National Disaster Resilience Grant program. One of the best defenses against climate change is our natural infrastructure such as wetlands and forests. When I’m president, we will protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 with a goal of 50 percent by 2050. Research suggests global reforestation could capture 25 percent of annual carbon emissions, and I’m committed to planting 30 billion trees by 2050, an average of 1 billion trees a year, doubling our rate of reforestation. The foundation of strong, resilient communities is ‘social infrastructure’: universal health care, worker rights, quality education, affordable housing, and 21st century safety net.

People do not live their lives in silos and so our plan is intersectional of those challenges.

We will mobilize America around this mission for a historic investment in the American people and our planet. That’s the benefit of a Green New Deal: we will build a 100 percent clean energy economy that both combats the climate crisis and tackles structural inequality. This issue is not only about saving the planet, it’s about serving its people. The purpose of building more resilient communities and ensuring environmental justice for all is to improve life for everyone. Whether you are an energy worker transitioning to a new job or a family of color living next to a former coal plant, whether you are in a rural town recovering from a massive flood or coastal city bracing for major hurricane, everyone counts in America. All of us need to work together and mobilize the greatness of the United States to build a 21st Century clean energy economy with ten million good paying job opportunities.

1

Environmental Justice for All

  • Pass new civil rights legislation to prevent environmental discrimination:
  • Require all federal actions to be reviewed for environmental and health impacts on low-income and marginalized communities by law to ensure they do not result in disparate health and environmental impacts. Through Executive Order 12898, the federal government is required to take disparate health and environmental impacts into consideration. I would codify this executive order into law. This new law would also require free, informed, and prior consent from tribal nations before engaging in major infrastructure projects on lands covered by treaties.
  • Reform and empower the EPA’s Office of External Civil Rights Compliance to bring justice to victims of environmental discrimination. In nearly 50 years, the Environmental Protect Agency has only made a finding of discrimination in one situation: Flint, Michigan. Since 1993, they have received 300 complaints, yet dismissed over 9 out of every 10. According to the US Commission on Civil Rights, the EPA has “avoided pushing civil rights complaints alleging discrimination based on disparate impact for fear that the agency would lose such a case if challenged in court.” That will change in my administration. I will empower the EPA to pursue environmental justice against corporate polluters to ensure that low-income and marginalized communities do not continue to bear the unfair health burden of pollution.
  • Institute a private right of action for Title VI civil rights actions. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, government programs were prohibited from having disparate impact on marginalized communities. Following the 2001 Supreme Court Case Alexander v. Sandoval, private individuals lost the right to directly pursue a lawsuit for discrimination and instead had to rely on government agencies that are often under-resourced and subject to political mandates. Justice should not be based on the priorities of the administration that happens to run the EPA. Those impacted by discrimination should have the right to have their case heard by the courts.
  • Require state governments receiving EPA assistance to implement environmental justice action plans that meet minimum standards and are verified by the EPA. Organizations, including state governments, that receive EPA assistance are required to provide evidence that they comply with civil rights standards, an Assurance of Compliance. These commitments are not always enforced. I will require state and local governments to have clearly defined policies to combat environmental discrimination and meet minimum standards to receive these funds.
  • Create a new “Economic Guarantee for Fossil Fuel Workers” to support workers in the oil, gas, and fossil fuel industry affected by the transition away from fossil fuels. For generations, coal workers and oil and gas employees have helped power our homes and businesses, now as we transition to a clean energy economy, we must help power their future. Thousands of energy workers have already lost their jobs due to an increasingly uneconomical coal industry. Our transformation away from fossil fuels will affect millions of workers and requires an economic security guarantee, similar to the GI Bill for returning veterans of World War II, including guaranteeing health care and disability benefits including specific programs like the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, supporting retirement including by defending pensions for mineworkers, targeting economic development to communities displaced by shut-downs of plants, and supporting local communities through training and educational assistance including through union-driven programs like the successful programs operated by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
  • Establish a National Climate Council within the White House. Climate change is an existential threat to our future and will require federal efforts from more than any one agency. I will establish a National Climate Council within the White House, similar to the National Security Council, headed by a National Climate Advisor. This office will include climate scientists, engineers, and other leaders in developing and implementing climate policy to ensure all presidential priorities are aligned with environmental justice and climate resilience goals. Attendees of the council will include the leadership of the relevant government agencies, including EPA, Interior, State, Defense, Transportation, HUD, and Justice.
  • Establish “Carbon Equity Scoring” to measure the impact of federal spending on climate justice goals. Major government projects, including legislation and executive branch projects, will need to assess its impacts on all communities, map those effects, and mobilize resources. This will enable a more targeted approach to dismantling environmental discrimination and addressing historical injustices and block new efforts to concentrate environmental hazards in communities with the least economic and political power to resist.
  • Identify and clean up any land contaminated by hazardous waste that has been determined to pose a risk to public health or the environment.
  • Reinstitute and increase the Superfund Tax to hold polluters accountable for their environmental harm. Polluted locations that require significant time and resources to clean up all 1344 Superfund sites that have been on the National Priorities List and need to be tested and remediated immediately. These sites are often located near low-income and marginalized communities and are a hazard for families that live nearby. Additionally, hundreds of Superfund sites are located in areas vulnerable to flooding and contaminate water resources near them. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the cleanup of 454 Superfund sites has resulted in those sites hosting 108,000 jobs and $29 billion in annual economic activity, four times the EPA’s cleanup costs. The Superfund Tax to finance cleanup expired in 1990. I will re-institute that tax, triple it, invest in effective waste and materials management practices, and clean up these sites to protect our communities.
  • Clean up ‘brownfields,’ abandoned mine lands, and formerly developed lands that now lie unused, and implement renewable energy projects on these lands. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the United States has over 450,000 ‘brownfields,’ lands that were formerly developed and are now unused. Estimates place the total area of these ‘brownfields’ at 5 million acres, the size of the 60 largest American cities put together. Many of these lands are contaminated or polluted, posing serious risks in case of a flood or other natural disasters. Cleaning them supports community health goals, particularly in low-income communities that host many of these ‘brownfields,’ and allows for the construction of renewable energy projects or green spaces. The environmental and economic benefits of cleaning up and developing brownfields is associated with an 18-to-1 return on each dollar invested, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. This is not simply just, it is also economically sensible.
  • Expedite permitting and siting in reclaimed sites for clean energy, infrastructure, or manufacturing deployment, prioritizing community-driven economic development that meet our climate goals.
  • Eliminate lead as a public health threat by working with Congress to direct $50 billion over ten years to eliminate lead in paint and soil and replace all lead pipes; ensure consistent standards and requirements across all relevant agencies; and strengthen efforts to support families who have already dealt with lead exposure and an additional $1 billion over ten years in funding for the Centers for Disease Control for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program .
  • Amend and update the Stafford Act so it is able to capture hybrid disasters that are partly a result of natural causes, but are impacted by human action as well, to better respond to future climate-fueled disasters.
  • Create a new refugee category called “Climate Refugees” for people who have been displaced because of migration due to climate change. The World Bank estimates that there may be as many as 200 million climate-change-driven migrants by 2050. Current refugee laws take into account persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. We need to defend and expand our commitment to refugee programs. While climate-driven conflicts do lead to persecution that existing refugee programs can cover, we cannot wait for climate change to destabilize a society before providing assistance. This program would need to include include proactive agreements with countries, like the island nations of the Pacific and Carribean, supporting investments in resilience and, when needed, resettling displaced families. This is particularly important given the unique relationship between the United States and the island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau with which the United States has a unique commitment under the Compact of Free Association.

2

Invest in Climate Resilient Communities

Physical Infrastructure:

  • Establish a $200 billion Green Infrastructure Fund. Investing in green infrastructure is critical to meeting climate goals and building resilient communities. The fund would support investments into climate resilience infrastructure through grants and loans that fund projects with strong union protections in construction, maintenance, and operation. This fund would aim to leverage an additional $600 billion in state, local, and private investments.
  • Projects would include water management systems, smart and resilient energy grids, electrified public transportation systems, electric-vehicle charging stations, and other infrastructure programs that help us adapt communities for a carbon-emission free future.
  • This push for infrastructure should also support equitable outcomes and unionized labor through requiring the funding, including leveraged resources, to require Project Labor Agreements, community benefit agreements, and Davis-Bacon Act requirements and union-supported public sector jobs.
  • Establishing green infrastructure would also include extending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to site high-capacity transmission lines to connect regions with a high capacity for renewable energy generation with other parts of the country and adopt uniform policies to integrate energy storage and distributed energy into regional transmission organizations and independent system operators. This authority would be similar to existing FERC authorities to site pipelines that pass through multiple state and local jurisdictions.
  • Defend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to support affordability and security for families, and put the program on a path to long-term sustainability. The National Flood Insurance Program provides peace of mind to millions of families and supports victims of floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. The Trump administration has attempted to raise premiums in a crude attempt to force families to leave their homes. Instead, I support reforms that lower costs for low- and middle-income homeowners and raised building standards for new construction in flood-risk zones. I also support expanding buy-out funding and authority to help homeowners, especially owners of properties that have faced multiple flood events, voluntarily relocate so the lands can be repurposed into green spaces that mitigate flooding.
  • Comprehensively update flood maps nationwide to enable informed community planning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains flood maps for over 22,000 companies, informing developers, cities, homeowners, and others in construction and disaster planning. According to the Department of Homeland Security, over 58% of FEMA’s flood maps are considered inaccurate or out of date. I will update these maps to ensure they are accurate, using new technologies like Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and accounting for long-term flooding risks due to climate change to inform the National Flood Insurance Program, development, and disaster preparation. This effort will require a $2 billion investment over five years, similar to previous efforts to write flood maps. Up-to-date flood maps would also enable:
  • Requiring all federally-backed loans for houses to disclose flood history and flooding risks, including long-term projections for the property, at point of sale.
  • A publicly-accessible tool to investigate flood risks, down to the community and property level.
  • Informed investments through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant and Flood Mitigation Grant programs.
  • Establish flood protection standards for all federally-assisted infrastructure, housing and construction projects. Long-term investments in our communities need to take into account the impacts of flooding and mitigate those risks. In the Obama administration, I worked with the White House to institute the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that took into account the effects of a changing climate to support long-term community planning and construction. President Trump revoked these standards in a give-away to developers. I would bring those standards back through executive action, strengthen them, and support incorporating them into law.
  • Require communities to develop natural hazard and disaster risk management plans to receive Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships funding. At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we supported more than 1,200 communities with development assistance through these programs and required them to account for natural hazards and disaster risk and ensure development assistance contributed to climate resilience. I would ensure we continued that practice to ensure federal assistance for community development takes into account the long-term risks of climate change.
  • Triple the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster assistance in the last two decades. Today, annual spending on disaster recovery is over ten times higher than three decades ago, according to an analysis from the Washington Post. The National Institute of Building Sciences estimates that each $1 in pre-disaster mitigation returns $6 in savings. Tripling the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, to increase funding by $500 million a year, will support frontline communities, help families and communities persevere through natural disasters.
  • Re-establish and expand the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s competitive National Disaster Resilience Grant program. In the Obama administration, I oversaw the National Disaster Resilience Competition that granted over $1 billion in grants across three years through a competitive process for communities affected by natural disasters to invest in resilience. We secured $5 billion in additional funds to match HUD’s contribution and established long-term community partnerships to support communities affected by natural disasters. I will re-establish that program, with $500 million in annual funding and all areas that received a major disaster declaration in a given year will be eligible for that year’s funding.

Natural Infrastructure:

  • Protect at least 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. Defending wildlife, supporting robust ecosystems, and ensuring natural resilience against the effects of climate change requires prioritization of natural lands. This must include expanding protected areas through national monuments, parks, and wildlife refuge designations. This also requires a collective effort by federal, state, tribal, and local governments, as well as private landowners, to implement proactive conservation policies to protect lands, including reclaiming degraded lands, reforestation and afforestation, and integrating natural places into urban communities. Reaching this goal sets the stage to protect 50 percent of U.S. lands and oceans by 2050.
  • Establish a Natural Infrastructure Revolving Fund with $50 billion in capital over ten years, requiring matching funds from state, territorial, and tribal governments, to fund natural infrastructure investments. This fund would support natural infrastructure investments, including restoring wetlands, forests, improving soil quality, reefs and living shorelines, preserving mangroves and barrier islands, supporting fisheries harmed by pollution, and investing in urban green spaces. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that certain projects can result in as many as $7 in economic benefits for each $1 invested. This would replicate the success of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is a self-perpetuating fund to support water infrastructure investments through loans and direct appropriations, and would be paired with expanding the Conservation Reserve Program and reforming the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to support voluntary conversion of agricultural lands and improvements to farms to withstand the changing climate.
  • Protect our waterways and water sources by strengthening the Clean Water Act, fully funding the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, and protecting our forests. According to the U.S. Forest Service, our national forests provide drinking water for over 180 million Americans. In addition to preserving and expanding forests, I will undo President Trump’s actions to undermine the Clean Water Act by restoring President Obama’s Waters of the United States rule that applies the Clean Water Act to tributaries and wetlands, and go further to combat pollution and runoff from industry and agriculture, protecting the resilience of our water sources against the effects of a changing climate. I also commit to fully funding the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds to capitalize both with an additional $20 billion over 10 years over current levels.
  • Plant 30 billion trees by 2050, doubling the current rate of reforestation and afforestation. Reforestation and natural climate solutions are some of the most effective and cost-efficient methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Effective forest management, active afforestation and reforestation efforts, an expansion of protected areas, and carbon sequestration tax incentives for planting trees can help us meet this goal by 2050. The world could capture 25 percent of annual carbon emissions by planting 1.2 trillion trees.
  • Establish educational programs to promote a culture of conservation. Conservation starts in our homes, from the products we use to the way we dispose of them. In addition to expanding opportunities for local communities to limit the use of single-use plastics and other materials that are hard to recycle, I support educational programs to support recycling and responsible environmental practices to lower waste. This would be paired with research and development investments to improve material sciences and recycling technologies and practices and incentives to use recycled materials in the drive towards a zero-waste society.
  • Establish a Green Opportunity Corps. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 to develop our public lands and provide skills to young adults. His efforts, including the New Deal, brought the United States out of the Great Depression and to the forefront of global leadership. I will follow that example and establish a Green Opportunity Corps to give at least 15,000 young adults each year the opportunity to support conservation of public lands and wildlife, community resilience programs, and implementation of green infrastructure and renewable energy projects. The program would establish partnerships with unions, businesses, state, tribal, and local governments, and conservation-oriented private organizations and offer pathways to long-term employment. Members of the Green Opportunity Corps would serve for one year after high school or a higher education program. They would be compensated with a full-time salary, health care, and other benefits to ensure all people of all backgrounds are able to serve, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Social Infrastructure:

Build communities that are able to respond to and recover from climate change challenges and disasters by investing in and strengthening the social infrastructure of these communities. Communities with heightened social vulnerabilities are more susceptible to the worst impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. Strengthening communities by investing in public spaces, including parks, libraries, schools, and in programs that empower communities to work together in the face of disruption, will enable us to meet this challenge. Climate change cannot be addressed in a vacuum as a stand-alone policy. Rather, our climate goals should be the lens through which all issues we approach are viewed. We will ensure that our other commitments are aligned with our climate goals.
  • Climate change and environmental challenges will be one of the most significant public health determinants in the future. We will ensure that all people have access to universal and high-quality health care regardless of their employment status to respond to the dangerous health impacts of climate change.
  • Defend and expand unionization. Economic disruption too often hurts workers and is exploited by corporations and the wealthy. Federal policies that strengthen unionization and collective bargaining will empower workers to be resilient against the effects of climate change. This includes amending the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act to disallow States from implementing so-called “right-to-work” laws, passing legislation to end employee misclassification for those in the ‘gig economy’, empowering the National Labor Relations Board to pursue companies that violate labor laws, allowing workers to initiative civil suits, extending labor protections to agricultural workers, and defending public sector unions by passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.
  • In order to create a 21st century green economy, we need a highly-skilled and trained workforce. We will make significant investments in improving our K-12 public education system and expanding it to include universal pre-K and tuition-free higher education.
  • The 21st century green economy will create new jobs and new industries to respond to this crisis. We must be careful not to replicate the same structural barriers to economic opportunity that have existed previously, so we should build this new economy with a commitment toward economic justice, which will require a strong commitment to the rights of workers, including a $15 living wage, strong nondiscrimination protections, a commitment to bridging the pay gap, and support for a right to organize in all industries.
  • Climate change and natural disasters will result in displacement and loss of housing for many people. This will be particularly devastating for low-income and homeless community members who will be less equipped to recover or survive events like heat waves, flooding, and storms. We will ensure access to affordable housing, and work to end veteran, child, family, youth, and chronic homelessness to better prepare communities to recover from climate-related displacement.
  • In order to create new, green jobs and industries, we will need to transition many workers into new jobs and workforces. This will naturally cause some economic disruption for families, so we will create a 21st Century Safety Net aimed at providing relief for families.
  • There are a number of communities that have been historically marginalized and as a result, have greater climate vulnerabilities including people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, people in rural communities, elderly people, and others who have experienced systemic discrimination based on their identities. In order to ensure that climate goals are effective and inclusive of their needs, we will center justice and equity in this policymaking and ensure that those who will be most impacted play a leading role in developing solutions.