Oct 9, 2019

Elizabeth Warren targets environmental justice in new climate plan

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to put environmental justice at the center of responding to climate change.

Why it matters: Her plan, which was unveiled Wednesday and focuses on addressing the disproportionate pollution burdens that the poor and communities of color often face, arrives as Warren has reached the top of the Democratic primary field.

  • She topped Joe Biden in the RealClearPolitics average of 2020 White House polls for the first time this week.
  • However, the Massachusetts senator lags behind the former vice president among African American voters, a vital Democratic constituency.

The big picture: Warren's proposal is consistent with the Green New Deal's emphasis on tethering steep carbon emissions cuts to racial and workforce equity concerns.

  • Her platform is a mix of ideas around climate change specifically and environmental policy more broadly.

How it works: One portion would create an "equity screen" for big federal investments she's proposing for accelerating the transformation to low-carbon energy.

  • "I’ll direct one-third of my proposed climate investment into the most vulnerable communities," she writes, adding this would funnel at least $1 trillion into these areas over 10 years.

A few other pillars:

  • Better "equity mapping" to identify "cumulative environmental health disparities and climate vulnerabilities." This would be cross-referenced with other socioeconomic data to improve air and water pollution permitting.
  • Altering bankruptcy laws to "prevent coal and other fossil fuel companies from evading their responsibility to their workers and to the communities that they have helped to pollute."
  • Encouraging the EPA and Department of Justice to "aggressively go after corporate polluters, particularly in cases of environmental discrimination."
  • Steps to to ensure that workers in fossil fuel industries are not left behind. She says she is "committed to providing job training and guaranteed wage and benefit parity for workers transitioning into new industries."
  • Focusing on at-risk populations in disaster planning and response.
  • Making it easier to move away from flood-prone areas through "buying back those properties for low-income homeowners at a value that will allow them to relocate."

The intrigue: The plan says Warren's positions in other policy areas will help address environmental justice.

  • For instance, Warren argues that Medicare for All will help the federal government "quickly tailor health care responses to specific environmental disasters in affected communities when they occur."

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.