How the Path for Energy Justice in the US Got a lot Clearer but Only a Little Easier

Given the new federal climate policies embedded in the Inflation Reduction Act, it has become even more critical to focus on advancing energy justice at the state level. The law establishes a new federal framework for transitioning the country to low-carbon energy sources, centering most levers of action on states or market actors, and doing little to address aspects of equity and inequity in the transition.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides clarity that the system we’ll operate under – likely for a minimum of seven to eight years – will not be one of direct federal regulation banning fossil fuels or mandating renewable energy. Instead, it encourages a state-centered and market incentive-driven transition to cleaner power sources. And while the law includes a few equity-focused provisions, it does not require a transition to energy justice. Thus, most of the work to advance energy justice is left to a wide array of actors who must make intentional efforts in the absence of federal leadership.

This seminar will offer an overview of what energy justice is, how the outlook for achieving it has changed or not, and how individuals, organizations, businesses, and government entities can understand the role we all must play in securing a just energy future.

Subin DeVar is the co-founder and executive director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, a national research center that provides law and policy resources to advocates and policymakers to advance state-level transitions to equitable renewable energy. Prior to working at IEJ, he directed the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Community Renewable Energy Program to promote a just and rapid transition to clean energy through community control of energy resources. Subin began his career working in the field of nonprofit communications. He first worked for the Tahirih Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization for immigrant women fleeing violence, and then M+R Strategic Services, a consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations. He has a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Subin is passionate about building hope that humanity can respond to climate change in a loving, equitable, and transformational manner.


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