From Dirty to Green: Increasing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Environmental Justice Communities
Golden Gate University School of Law
Villanova Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2013
The stifling summer heat that raged across the nation was difficult for everyone, but one group had a more difficult time than others — those who could not afford to cool their homes. Disparities like these will likely only get worse. Low-income communities of color that are already vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by pollution will shoulder a larger burden of climate change impacts. These neighborhoods, often called environmental justice communities, have fewer resources to adapt to the effects of climate change. More measures should be taken to increase the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in environmental justice communities before the gap becomes worse.
A myriad of policies promote the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency resources throughout the United States. These measures are justified by reasons ranging from energy security and job creation to environmental mitigation. Many of these measures are not targeted towards any particular community, but rather are general measures designed to encourage the development of these resources in a particular state or area of a state. A limited number of policies have strayed from this general approach and are designed to target sectors of the population that are more vulnerable to rising energy prices. These policies are often focused on lowering a person’s energy bill rather than reducing a person’s energy needs and environmental burdens. Most recently, the federal government authorized some funding to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy development in low-income communities in the recovery fund. These funds, however, were limited and are unlikely to reoccur.
New policies are needed to increase renewable energy development and energy efficiency in environmental justice communities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Renewable Energy, Environmental Justice
JEL Classification: K32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 8, 2013
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