Economic Inclusion and Climate Equity

By James Boyce and Manuel Pastor

James Boyce, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
Director, Program on Development, Peacebuilding and the Environment
The Political Economy Research Institute
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Manuel Pastor, Ph.D.
Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity
Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
University of Southern California

Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

In their latest research, Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air: Should climate policies give extra credit for maximizing short-term health benefits?, Manuel Pastor and James Boyce present the first national level study to take such a careful look at the potential to reduce harmful air pollution as part of our strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air makes the key—but often overlooked—point that a reduction in GHGs in one location could disproportionately improve health in heavily-polluted communities. While GHGs are ubiquitous, associated co-pollutants, such as particulate matter, are more localized. Policymakers need to include this finding in climate change decisions for efficiency reasons: why leave public health benefits lying on the ground? But they should also for equity reasons: the facilities that emit GHGs and the associated co-pollutants are disproportionately in low-income communities and communities of color. While current strategies don’t fully address these potential health and equity gains, it might be relatively easy to do so.

Kristen Sheeran, Director of the E3 Network who commissioned the report commented, “This report highlights often overlooked issues of environmental justice. Take for example the recent explosion on August 6 at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California. This refinery is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California, and over 85% of the residents who live within a three-mile radius of the plant live below the federal poverty line. We recognize an enormous risk—as well as an enormous opportunity—for public health and to address pollution where it is needed most.”

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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