U.S. Congressional Report on “Solving the Climate Crisis” Calls for Needed Climate Action for Communities

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2020

Contacts: Amanda Aguirre, GreenLatinos, comms@greenlatinos.org (English)

Betsy López-Wagner, López-Wagner Strategies, blopezwagner@gmail.com (Español)

U.S. Congressional Report on “Solving the Climate Crisis” Calls for Needed Climate Action for Communities

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released a blueprint to address the climate crisis entitled “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy and Just America.” As the devastating consequences of climate change impact Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and low income communities the most, the need for bold action to address climate change has never been greater than now.

The report is the result of a year-long effort, which included solutions-oriented conversations and hearings held across the country to examine tools, policies, local solutions and actions that reduce the carbon pollution driving climate change. It outlines hundreds of policy recommendations for fighting the climate crisis and is centered on 12 key pillars. If adopted in full, these recommendations would achieve net zero carbon pollution by 2050.

In solidarity, Latinx leaders from across the country shared the following words in response to the release of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ report:

Azul, Marce Graudiņš – Founder & Executive Director

“Oceans help safeguard us from the growing dangers of climate change. Urgent action is needed to protect us and the environments we depend on. It is heartening to see this plan at a time when climate justice must be achieved.”

Corazón Latino, Felipe Benítez – Executive Director

“Latino communities around the country and around the world are experiencing devastating effects of the climate crisis. Right now, our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico as well as the East Coast are bracing for what is expected to be one of the most intense hurricane seasons in years. This, as the archipelago is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane María three years ago. In Arizona, fires and extreme heat are exacerbating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting our communities. Corazón Latino supports this plan and thanks all of the members that are supporting it. This action is necessary and urgent to avoid further impacts of the climate crisis in our communities as well as to generate economic development and clean jobs for everybody who lives in our country.”

GreenLatinos, Amanda Aguirre – Executive Vice President, COO
“By investing in concrete climate solutions, we are ensuring that the public health of Latinx, Black, Indigenous and communities of color, are safeguarded as we face three pandemics – COVID-19, the climate crisis and racism. By mitigating climate risks we can simultaneously improve public health and protect people. Now is the time for policies that invest in our communities and address the long-standing environmental racism that affects the daily lives of people of color in this country.”

Hispanic Access Foundation, Shanna Edberg – Director of Conservation Programs

“Now is the moment to create a resilient, just, and sustainable society, economy, and nation. The benefits of climate action, in terms of job creation, personal savings, health, disaster resilience, and equity for suffering communities, vastly outweigh the costs. There is so much work to be done – what better way to replace lost income and provide meaningful work than to prevent the climate crisis and rebuild a more equitable, resilient, and healthy America?”

Hispanic Federation, Laura Esquivel – Senior Vice President of Federal Policy & Advocacy

“For too long, Latinx communities have been left behind in climate change solutions. The current coronavirus pandemic underscores that Latinx, Indigenous, and Black communities are suffering from the disproportionate consequences of this marginalization. We look forward to seeing future climate change legislation that provides resources that enable our communities to prevent future damages by addressing the systemic racism that creates these inequitable impacts, and that also creates a substantive process to restore, repair, and heal from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.”

LCV Chispa, Johana Vicente – Chispa National Director
“As we work to make our communities healthier and safer, we must also ensure justice for Black Indigenous and people of color that have borne the brunt of the current climate crisis and pollution. Equitable climate solutions that address environmental injustices and health disparities must be at the center of any federal policy. We need policies that preserve and expand family-sustaining clean energy jobs for all, advance economic and environmental justice, reduce pollution, and address the current climate crisis. By improving public health and mitigating climate risks to health infrastructure, we can begin to dismantle decades of inequalities linked to environmental injustices and health disparities.”

National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, Kenneth Romero – Executive Director

“The Committee’s Action Plan aligns closely with the one Hispanic state legislators had unanimously called on Congress and the President to enact in our December meeting, so we’re very happy,” said Kenneth Romero, Executive Director of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) referring to the group’s resolution[1] which called for a community-focused environmental justice plan with union-sponsored job-training programs paired with large investments in renewables; net-zero emissions by 2050; an energy efficient smart-grid; preservation of clean air, water and soil; and policies that prepare communities for climate emergencies. “We will work to help Congress pass all related bills and to help our members enact legislation that enables these goals in the 43 states where they serve. The overarching goal will be to address the systemic social, environmental, and economic injustices that   climate change exacerbated, disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, rural communities, the poor, low-income earners, women, the elderly, people with disabilities, and young people.”

National Hispanic Medical Association, Dr. Elena Rios – CEO

“The National Hispanic Medical Association urges the federal government to support the resiliency of a clean energy economy so that Latinos and other vulnerable communities can lead healthier lives.”

Poder Latinx, Yadira Sánchez – Co-Executive Director

“The climate crisis, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19, is taking a tremendous toll on the wellbeing of Latinx communities around the country. Our communities are suffering the consequences of systemic inequalities that have made us more vulnerable to falling ill, losing our jobs, and deeply affecting our lives.  We welcome today’s plan and recognize that it is a bold yet necessary initiative to urgently address the public health and climate crises that are overwhelmingly affecting communities of color as well as an opportunity to build a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous economic future for all.”

The CLEO Institute, Salome Garcia – Policy and Campaigns Manager  “Despite Florida’s strong economy, our residents face some of the highest economic inequality around the country. Research has shown that over 57 percent of Floridians are unable to cover a $1,000 emergency, ranking us last in the nation for emergency savings. Climate-fueled hurricanes and flooding damage homes and roads, knock out electricity, threaten public health, and take a bite out of paychecks as well as businesses bottom lines. Rising temperatures force families trying to make ends meet to choose between necessities like food or air conditioning. These consequences are hard on Florida residents, the majority of whom live without the safety nets to get by when wages drop, streets flood and electricity bills climb in the wake of dangerous extreme weather events. Income inequality is rising as Florida’s population swells. The burdens of climatic change and rising seas are only getting worse for communities, aging infrastructure, and government and household budgets. Congressional leadership can reduce the public health and economic threats of our communities by focusing federal action on the climate crisis and acknowledging this as a non-partisan, humanitarian crisis that must also be addressed.”

UFW Foundation, Diana Tellefson Torres – Executive Director |
“Low income and communities of color are at the front lines of the climate crisis, living and working in regions that are disproportionately impacted by the dangers of climate change. As temperatures continue soaring, workers all over the country deserve to be protected from the dangers of heat. Farm workers suffer from the highest rates of heat illness and workers in many other outdoor and indoor industries are at risk too. No federal heat standard exists to ensure the safety and health of workers who are exposed to dangerous heat conditions in the workplace. We must take immediate action to stop unnecessary deaths by creating national heat rules such as those we won in California that clearly define workers’ rights to fresh water, shade, rest breaks and trainings.”

Unidos US Action Fund, Orson Aguilar – Executive Director 

“Our climate crisis will disproportionately hit working-class and Latino communities throughout the nation.  We need urgent action now to ensure that Latinos will remain resilient in the face of climate change.”