By Ashe Schow
Two aides named by President-elect Joe Biden to handle environmental issues claim “systemic racism” is partially to blame for climate change.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Maggie Thomas has been tapped for the Office of Domestic Climate Policy chief of staff and Cecilia Martinez will serve as “senior director for environmental justice. Both incoming advisers have said racism drives climate change while insisting Biden’s environmental reforms should be based on “racial and economic justice.”
In 2019, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released an “Equitable & Just” climate platform that demanded “environmental justice, equity and reducing pollution in overburdened communities” be front and center in the fight against climate change.
“For too long, systemic racism and injustice have disproportionately exposed economically disadvantaged communities, tribal communities, and communities of color to the highest levels of toxic pollution. As the current COVID-19 crisis demonstrates, the interconnection between environmental and health risks has created crisis conditions for communities already battling toxic pollution that causes respiratory and other illnesses. Unless intentionally interrupted, systemic racism will continue to be a major obstacle to creating a healthy planet. The only path forward is to design national climate policies that are centered on justice,” Martinez said in a press release for the platform.
Thomas has her own climate plan, which calls for trillions more in government spending to fight climate change, including more welfare programs such as rent and utility relief. The plan also demands the U.S. move away from fossil fuels. She demands Biden use executive action to establish a “government-wide environmental justice initiative” that would focus “federal environmental policy around equity, justice, and inclusion.”
Daniel Turn, founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Power the Future, told the Free Beacon that it looks like the incoming Biden administration is trying to justify nationalizing “the nation’s energy industry” under the pretenses of “racism” and “justice.”
“Punishing America’s energy workers will do nothing to address climate change and it will do nothing to address injustices. It will, however, cause the prices of gas and utilities to rise sharply, and that will punish the less privileged most of all,” Turner told the outlet. “We do need to talk about housing, employment, and racism, but doing so under the pretext of energy policy will deliver muddied, expensive, and pointless legislation.”
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Thomas and Martinez’s climate plans in many ways mirror the Green New Deal, a $94 trillion bill introduced by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in 2019. The legislation calls for the “economic transformation” of the United States and aims to provide “adequate” federal housing for every American. While Biden has not explicitly endorsed the Green New Deal, he has praised the bill as “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face” and included many of its components in his $2 trillion climate plan. The proposal, released in July 2019, pledges to “comprehensively address the most pressing, intersectional environmental justice issues” by targeting federal subsidies to minority groups.