Our families deserve to breathe free.
Heat waves, drought, air pollution — climate change is already affecting our health, our environment and our ability to make a living wage. Low-income Black, Indigenous and Nevadans of color are especially suffering living in areas with hotter temperatures, dirtier air, fewer green spaces and higher energy bills.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A new report provides a blueprint for how our state can protect vulnerable Nevadans and build resilient communities.
Join us today in asking Congress and Nevada’s leaders to champion equitable climate solutions as we transition to a pollution-free future.
ABOUT THE REPORT
This report’s research shows that low-income communities of color in Nevada are more likely to:
Live or work near sources of harmful air pollution — like highways, industrial warehouses and power plants
Lack access to clean energy and clean transportation options — like electrified transit and cars, rooftop solar, or energy efficiency measures
Live in urban heat islands — areas with hotter temperatures and fewer green spaces.
North Las Vegas and Las Vegas were both among the top ten cities in the country where the lowest-income households live in the hottest neighborhoods.
Pay a disproportionate share of our income for energy bills and transportation costs.
Low-income households in Las Vegas spend a median 6.5% of their income on energy bills; a quarter of low-income households spend 13.8%. In comparison the average household spends a median of 2.8%.
West Las Vegas households have on average an energy burden 1.5 times higher than the Vegas area at large, because of historic practices like redlining.
Too often get left out of clean energy, energy efficiency, and transportation solutions that could lower our bills and improve our health.
The highest-income 20% of households have 39% of solar installations. The lowest-income 20% of households have installed only 6% of rooftop solar.
Only 29% of Black Nevadans own their homes, while 63% White non-Hispanic Nevadans do. Renters often can’t invest in energy efficient appliances or rooftop solar panels.
That’s why the report also shows us that to fight climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t enough — we also need to reduce pollution to improve public health, lower energy costs for families, and increase our resilience. If decarbonization policies aren’t designed to help the Black, Indigenous and people of color and low-income communities most harmed by climate change, then those policies could do more harm than good.
By directly integrating equitable policies into our climate plans, lawmakers will create a more just, pollution-free Nevada.
Here’s what the report recommends lawmakers do:
- Encourage trucking companies to electrify their fleets to reduce pollution in communities near highways and major traffic corridors;
- Help low-income Nevadans of color access EVs by providing upfront purchase incentives and placing charging stations in their neighborhoods;
- Provide accessible, electric public transit so people can get around easily and affordably, without needing a car;
- Help low-income households switch to efficient electric appliances that reduce energy use and lower utility bills;
- Expand access to energy efficiency and rooftop solar panels to renters;
- Protect utility customers by limiting bills to a percentage of household income;
- Retire polluting power plants near low-income communities of color; and
- Require the mining industry to reduce their polluting emissions.
For the full report, an executive summary or more details on methodology and research:
Passing strong, equitable climate policies will take time.
We need to start now.
Ask lawmakers to commit to adhering to these five principles as Nevada drafts its climate plans:
- Center equity at the beginning of planning, and throughout plans
- Use environmental justice screening tools, informed by public input, to identify targeted neighborhoods for clean energy investments
- Break down all barriers that leave behind low-income households, communities of color, renters, undocumented folks, and other impacted populations
- Acknowledge that for decades, polluters and developers have placed highways, bus depots, industrial centers, waste systems and other sources of pollution next to our neighborhoods
- Work with climate justice advocates organizing for a Nevada where we can all breathe free
We are an alliance of Nevada-based, BIPOC-led nonprofit groups who believe our families deserve to breathe clean air.
Having strong climate, equitable policies in place will help families who are struggling to pay energy bills, breathing in dirtier air, lack access to clean transportation and already paying too much for health care while trying to make a living wage. Through policies that will not only fight climate change but also reduce pollution in our neighborhoods, we can build a new kind of Nevada that runs on clean, affordable local energy and puts people’s health over corporate profits. This means a thriving, pollution-free future not just for our children, but for us now, too.
This is not only possible, but necessary. Together, we can demand climate solutions that put the health of our people first.
Paid for by Chispa Nevada
Copyright, Breathe Free NV