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Environmental Justice and Climate Policy Solutions Dialogue

The Goldman School of Public Policy’s Center for Environmental Public Policy (CEPP) joined with University of California President Janet Napolitano to convene the Environmental Justice and Climate Policy Solutions Dialogue on February 10, 2017.  Key California state and local government officials; stakeholders from the environmental justice community, industry and nonprofit sectors; and expert faculty from the UC system were invited to participate.  Among those included were the California Air Resources Board Chair and other board members, California State Legislature staff members, representatives of local environmental justice organizations, executive officers of three air pollution control districts, industry executives, and environmental advocacy organization representatives. 

The fundamental goal of the dialogue was to help California and its environmental justice communities craft a win-win pathway to meeting the state’s long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals and to reducing emissions of, and disproportionate exposure to, harmful criteria and toxic air pollutants in disadvantaged communities, while also building healthier and more sustainable communities.

The dialogue was facilitated by Ned Helme, CEPP Executive Director at UC Berkeley Goldman School.  A participant-driven process, the dialogue gravitated to examining policies that optimize criteria and toxic air emissions reductions and protect the health of disadvantaged communities.  A number of dialogue participants strongly preferred leaving the discussion of achieving the 40 percent GHG 2030 reduction goal to debate in the legislative arena.  Consequently, dialogue presentations and discussions focused on:

  • The status of air pollution data and monitoring including the emergence of low-cost community sensor technology,
  • Options for reducing criteria and toxic emissions from stationary sources, and
  • Options for reducing criteria and toxic emissions from mobile sources.

Two full Dialogue sessions were held; a one-day session in February and a second, two-day session in March.  To advance the ideas developed at the full dialogue sessions, the process then continued with smaller working group and extensive one-on-one and small group discussions and further research by the CEPP team.  What follows is the executive summary of the Environmental Justice and Air Quality report which proposes solutions to the clean air challenges facing disadvantaged communities and other local communities where air pollution levels are disproportionately high.  While the report draws on the dialogue and small group discussions and our related research, it is solely the product of the authors and the Center for Environmental Public Policy.  The final report will be released at the end of July.

University of California President Janet Napolitano

Ned Helme, Executive Director of CEPP

Luis Olmedo, Executive Director of Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc