Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Black Activists Who Birthed the Environmental Justice Movement
Feb 24, 2023
In case you missed it, on Sunday, LCV President Gene Karpinski joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal for an interview to discuss the urgent need for the Biden administration and Congress to take action to get millions of people back to work in new good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy while tackling climate change and environmental racism.
See the interview and transcript of C-SPAN’s interview here.
During the interview, Karpinski stressed the importance of investing in communities most impacted by pollution and the climate crisis — particularly communities of color and low wealth communities — and investing in and transitioning to clean energy jobs: “The Build Back Better Plan is about investing in the jobs of the future. And making sure 40% of those investments go to those most impacted, communities of color and low-income communities that have been most affected by pollution and the climate crisis.”
Additional interview highlights:
Karpinski on Clean Energy Jobs:
We need new jobs — but we need clean energy jobs. We saw in Texas the challenges with the grid. Rebuilding the grid is a clean energy job. Retrofitting buildings is a clean energy job. Putting in place electric charging stations that are part of President Biden’s plan — that is a clean energy job. Building renewables, building solar, building wind, building offshore wind, we have so many amazing opportunities to create the jobs of the future — that is where investments need to come from, and that’s what we need to do to lead the world so we do not need to rely on other countries to import technology. We need to create the technologies of the future and export them to the world.
Karpinski on Infrastructure & Healthy Communities:[President Biden] has made it clear that jobs of the future are primarily in the new clean energy economy. We need to repair our existing roads and bridges — that is part of the surface transportation bill and the more general investment in infrastructure. Infrastructure is much more than that. It’s also our drinking water systems, our stormwater systems, our wastewater systems. We have a lot of challenges there. Too many people are drinking unhealthy water. [We need] investing in clean water, investing in mass transit, investing in a new grid, investing in wind and solar. We need investments in the clean energy jobs of the future — those need to be good paying, union jobs and we need to make 40% of those investments in communities of color and other communities impacted by pollution and the harm we have already caused.
Karpinski on Climate Impacts:
If you’ve lived in Florida for a while, you’ve seen the impact of climate change. Yes, we’ve always had hurricanes, but hurricanes are more extreme and more forceful as a result of climate change. If you’re in the Miami area, the streets are flooded on a regular basis — that is a reflection of climate change and rising sea levels. These things are happening now. They are real. The climate change challenge, we see it more every day. The question is how do we solve it? The fastest growing jobs are the jobs in the clean energy economy. We can rebuild this economy in a way that’s good for public health and good for our planet in a way that creates good-paying, union, and sustaining jobs. We see that in a lot of countries across the world and we see that in some states who have been leaders in this effort. Those jobs are the jobs of the future.”
With the backing of federal, state and local elected officials, environmental justice leaders, organized labor, and other progressive groups across the country, LCV and Climate Power launched the Great American Build last week to raise public awareness and encourage Congress to take bold climate action that will create jobs in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between.
NBC highlighted the “Great American Build” launch, noting that as a candidate, Biden “vowed an infrastructure plan of more than $2 trillion that would go far beyond traditional projects like bridges and roads to invest heavily in the technologies and capabilities to dramatically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, such as building high-voltage transmission lines, retrofitting buildings for efficiency and installing half a million electric vehicle charging stations.” See NBC’s coverage of the “Great American Build” here.
Gene and LCV leadership are available for meetings and interviews to discuss the need to make Biden’s Build Back Better agenda a reality. Let us know if you have any questions.