ELI Announces Climate Equity for Local Governments Initiative

May 2022

U.S. EPA-supported program to serve as resource and education hub for cities, counties, and metro regions committed to addressing inequity and enhancing the resiliency of their most vulnerable populations

(Washington, D.C.): The Environmental Law Institute today announced a new Climate Equity for Local Governments initiative that will offer municipalities much-needed programming and resources on integrating equity into climate action planning. The initiative launches May 26 with a webinar introducing equity-centered local climate action planning.

Cities, counties, and towns across the United States are developing or updating climate action plans that address mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability goals. But best practices now integrate equity: recognizing that frontline populations, including historically marginalized communities, often experience the worst impacts from climate change impacts while also not sharing equitably in the benefits from transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

“ELI’s Climate Equity for Local Governments program is intended to help Environmental Justice communities subject to systemic discrimination, as well as other groups disproportionately impacted by climate change,” said Cynthia R. Harris, staff attorney and deputy director of ELI’s Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs. “This includes the disabled, the unhoused, the elderly, children, non-English speakers, outdoor workers, and others. These communities need to not only be centered in climate plans; they deserve a seat at the table to voice their priorities and needs.”

The Climate Equity for Local Governments initiative springs from ELI’s administration of the U.S. EPA’s Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN). LGEAN will host the initiative as a digital hub of resources focused on climate equity at https://www.lgean.net/. ELI will also develop unique content and programming to help local governments better understand vulnerable populations and cross-cutting considerations, such as stakeholder engagement and how climate planners can better understand and account for these populations’ needs.

The first webinar, to be held on May 26, will provide an overview of climate equity. Subsequent webinars will focus on topics including climate change impacts on the unhoused, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and the elderly. To register for the May 26 webinar, visit https://www.eli.org/events/equity-centered-local-climate-action-planning. The event is cosponsored by Local Governments for Sustainability, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and ABA SEER’s Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee.

Ms. Harris is available for interview.