Biden Senior Director for Environmental Justice Blames “Systemic Racism” for Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t The Blaze; Introducing your new government; NYT is celebrating the appointment of visionaries like Dr. Cecilia Martinez to Biden’s climate team. But Martinez has some interesting ideas of why climate action has made so little progress to date.

First the NYT piece praising Biden’s new team;

A ‘Nerve Center’ for Climate in the Biden White House

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. brings with him the largest team of climate change experts ever assembled in the White House, and action on global warming is expected quickly.

By Lisa Friedman
Published Jan. 19, 2021
Updated Jan. 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumed the presidency on Wednesday, bringing an expansive team of climate change experts to staff a White House that is preparing to focus on global warming in a way no other administration has done before.

Mr. Biden enters office with the largest team ever assembled inside the White House to tackle global warming and has installed policy experts at the State Department as well as the National Security Council, the president’s top advisory body for all foreign policy decisions. The Treasury Department, the Transportation Department and the office of Vice President Kamala Harris all will have dedicated climate policy staff, with more hires expected in the coming days throughout the government.

Cecilia Martinez, a prominent advocate for addressing racial inequality in environmental policies, will serve as senior director for environmental justice at the Council on Environmental Quality. Tarak Shah, a former Energy Department official under Mr. Obama is also expected to be chief of staff to Jennifer Granholm, the nominee to be Energy Secretary.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/19/climate/biden-climate-change.html

What Cecilia had to say about systemic racism and climate change;

Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy 

“For too long, systemic racism and injustice have disproportionately exposed economically disadvantaged communities, tribal communities, and communities of color to the highest levels of toxic pollution. As the current COVID-19 crisis demonstrates, the interconnection between environmental and health risks has created crisis conditions for communities already battling toxic pollution that causes respiratory and other illnesses. Unless intentionally interrupted, systemic racism will continue to be a major obstacle to creating a healthy planet. The only path forward is to design national climate policies that are centered on justice. CEED welcomes the Select Committee’s climate policy report, which is centered on equitable climate solutions that will build an inclusive, just and pollution-free economy that works for all people. The report supports many of the policy priorities in the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, including ensuring a healthy climate and air quality for all, and access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity, water, and transportation for every community. In particular, CEED welcomes the report’s recommendations to ensure that all communities share the benefits of expanded investment in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy and a prosperous and vibrant clean economy.”

Source: 2019 Equitable and Just Press Release (PDF Copy)

The house committee plan Cecilia praised is available here.

Cecilia appeared on Time Magazine’s 2020 list of the 100 most influential people.

It will be fascinating to see how Cecilia progresses her ideas for eliminating systemic racism, to drive forward climate action. No doubt the efforts of Cecilia and other members of Biden’s team will produce newsworthy hi-lights in the years to come.

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January 24, 2021 at 08:18PM

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