NAACP: Yes to Civil Rights, Yes to Climate Justice, NO on Prop 23

Authors: Alice Huffman, President of the California Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People This November, California voters will decide on Proposition 23. The ballot measure would suspend implementation of California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which is designed to address climate change, create jobs, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the state's vulnerable communities. Sponsored and bankrolled by Texas oil companies, Proposition 23 would set California back years in its efforts to address climate change and grow a strong clean-energy economy. This threatens the health and welfare of all of us, especially low-income communities and communities of color. Climate Justice is a Civil Rights Issue Climate change affects everyone, but low-income and African American communities are some of the most threatened in America. A projected 90% spike in heat-related deaths will fall hardest on African Americans, who, because of their concentration in hot urban areas, are at 150-200% greater risk of such deaths. This threat is also greater for low-income families that cannot afford the higher costs of air conditioning or home retrofitting. Climate change will also lead to more extreme weather. And, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, low-income people and people of color suffer the worst effects of extreme weather. Even setting aside the long-term danger of climate change, the immediate impacts of industrial pollution have been disastrous for African Americans. Pollution has led to increased asthma rates across the board, but African American communities have been hit the hardest. In a recent survey, 64% of African Americans reported having asthma or an asthmatic family member, compared to 44% of Latinos, 42% of whites, and 37% of Asians. The impacts of pollution and climate change are of special concern to low-income people, African Americans, and other people of color. So are the impacts of one of the most promising approaches to stopping climate change: developing green industry and creating green jobs. Green Jobs are Investments in Community and Economic Development In an effort to both boost the economy and curb climate change, California has been encouraging the growth of job-generating green businesses. Green industry has become the state’s most promising sector for job growth, with green jobs growing at nearly three times the rate of jobs in other sectors. From 1995 to 2008, the number of jobs in California rose by 13% — but the number of green jobs grew by 36%. From 2007 to 2008, when state employment fell 1%, the number of green jobs continued to grow, increasing by 5%. With the black unemployment rate nearly doubling that of whites, green jobs offer the promise of relief — provided that African Americans have access to the training and hiring procedures for these jobs. No Rollback of Climate Justice. No on Prop 23. In suspending AB 32, Proposition 23 seeks to stop California from encouraging the promising growth in green industry while rescinding important protections from pollution. If it passes, Proposition 23 will stifle competition, suppress investment, and kill jobs in the clean-energy and clean-technology sectors. Now is the time to push our economy forward, not roll it back in order to breathe life into the withering fossil fuel sector. We must say “NO” to Proposition 23 and the Texas oil companies that are bankrolling it. Take action here and pass the word to your friends. To learn more, visit Green For All’s page and follow their important work via Twitter and Facebook. Photos Shown: Top; “NAACP & Anthos at Hidden Lakes Apartments” - Macon, GA. Bottom; “LA is ready”, YOUTH BUILD/LA CAUSA, SERVICE NATION, GREEN FOR ALL DAY OF ACTION

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