Clara Fang: Can a carbon tax support environmental justice?
Planet Detroit published Clara Fang's opinion essay about carbon pricing and environmental justice. The following is an excerpt from the essay.
This past summer, homes in Detroit were flooded with up to five feet of sewage backup after heavy rains dumped six inches of water overnight. It took weeks and more than $10,000 (not reimbursed by insurance) for my home in East English Village to be restored to a livable condition. Two weeks later, our homes were flooded again by another 100-year storm.
For well over a century, communities of color have suffered disproportionately the impacts of pollution while mainstream, white-led environmental organizations did little to help. Unless climate solutions center communities that have been historically overburdened, the people that are most likely to be hit hardest by climate change or have the most to contribute in a crisis will not benefit.
I joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby because I wanted to do something about climate change. At the time I did not know that CCL had an image problem when it came to environmental justice because of its support for a carbon tax, a strategy that calls for taxing energy companies a fee based on the amount of carbon emissions they produce.
The mechanism is controversial with environmental justice communities because its close relatives, cap-and-trade and carbon offsetting, have done little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while enabling companies to “pay to pollute.”
However, recent carbon tax bills bear little resemblance to old problematic ones and do support environmental justice goals. ...