The entire country is engaged in a broad and long-overdue examination of the roles that race and racism play in our society – our legal system, workforce, communities, politics, schools, and more.

Race also plays a role in energy – who has access to it, how much they pay for it, who works in the energy industry, who lives near our power plants, and who has a seat at the table to determine energy choices that our towns, cities, states and countries make on our behalf.

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We also know that communities of color will bear a disproportionate share of the impacts of climate change, and that if climate solutions are not implemented with equity in mind, they, too, could further widen the equity gap.

Pecan Street’s Center for Race, Energy & Climate Justice was developed to bring our organization’s unique data and research capabilities to this critical and complicated issue.

We will not solve this issue alone. But with our partners, we aim to leverage our decade of energy and water data collection and analysis to highlight areas of concern and opportunity that will be key in achieving fairness and equity in an area that plays such a central role in our lives.

A Team of Energy Research Experts and a Veteran Leader in Energy Equity

Pecan Street’s entire team of engineers, data scientists, project managers and others have integrated race, energy & climate justice into our strategic plan.

The center’s launch is led by advisory chair, John Hall, an icon of the Texas energy and environmental communities. John has worked on environmental and social justice issues in Texas for nearly 40 years, most recently as an associate vice president at Environmental Defense Fund.

For more information about the Center for Race, Energy & Climate Justice work, please email Suzanne Russo.

Individuals, organizations and corporations can donate online to support this work.


Race, Energy & Climate Justice Content and Events


Why Race, Energy & Climate Justice

  • Access to energy is perhaps the most foundational component of modern society. In America, the benefits of the United States robust energy sector and the cost of its externalities fall disproportionately along racial lines.
  • The benefits and burdens of energy are not equally distributed in the United States. Jobs and wealth from the energy sector are disproportionately enjoyed by white households, the economic hardship and the siting of harmful facilities that produce fossil-fuel-based power are shouldered by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
  • Discrimination in labor and housing have segmented BIPOC communities, making it more difficult for them to count on steady and sufficient income and access to efficient and “energy-affordable” homes.
  • Not only will BIPOC communities shoulder a disproportionate share of the impacts of climate change – including sea level rise, risk from increased severe weather events, and poor air quality – they could fall behind in a decarbonized economy if climate solutions are not designed to avoid the inequity of our current energy system.

Activities and Year One Agenda

The Center for Race, Energy & Climate Justice will focus on key areas of expertise developed over a decade of energy and water research.

  1. Aggregating research on racial justice and equitable policy design from the social sciences
  2. Converting research on racial equity into models, tools and policy recommendations
  3. Incubating a non-profit organization to work with BIPOC communities and stakeholders to implement climate justice policies and programs
  4. Identifying gaps in research and policy and securing funding to fill these gaps
  5. Building out Pecan Street research networks within communities of color

 

Our Year One strategic plan focuses on:

  • Establishing a framework for evaluation and development of energy policies
  • Developing a research database that aggregates current academic research on racial justice and applications to the energy sector
  • Creating a toolkit for regulators, policymakers, and energy companies to apply the framework to evaluation and reporting on their own programs
  • Developing evidence-driven policies that will provide the public with information on the outcomes of utility and corporate programs
  • Educating policymakers and regulators on these issues
  • Incubating an independent non-profit that can work with communities to leverage new data and make policy recommendations