Logo of Clean Energy Justice

Energy Justice

Photo Copyright Julie Dermansky

We Call the Clean Energy Ministers to:

Adopt Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Housing Weatherization Transportation Empowering Solutions

What is Clean Energy Justice?

We welcome the energy experts of the world in their dedication to achieving climate goals such as those set forth in the Paris Agreement and pursuing solutions that will grow a circular carbon economy that will be dedicated to frontline communities and will shine a spotlight on the costs, public health impacts, extractive industries and environmental devastation associated with extractive and fossil fuel-based energy initiatives.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal are ways of generating electricity. However, generating electricity for buildings, cooking, water heating and transportation would require generating much more renewable energy-based electricity. In planning for a fossil free energy future, questions should be addressed such as where the materials will come from, how and where they will be mined and transported, where they will be placed and who owns them.

Energy Efficiency - Nearly Zero Energy Efficiency Campaigns

Advancing policy, investment and information exchange in support of nearly zero energy buildings worldwide. Ultra energy efficient homes and buildings combine state-of-the-art construction materials with appliance, lighting and available renewable energy systems to lower costs and reduce the load on energy systems.

Housing/Building Retrofits, Weatherization Programs

Advancing cutting-edge research, materials and technologies to design, power and operate the most advanced, energy-efficient buildings and in the world. Embracing policies that set new standards for the future that put people first, especially those left behind by extractive industries.

Solar farms in Spain
Photo Credit: Koza1983, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Transportation Solutions

Development of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies and the expansion of traditional public sector transportation services that result in lower emissions, greater efficiency of transportation per unit of energy, or a more accessible and usable transportation system, including electric batteries and transitioning to electric cars, buses and trucks, improving bicycle lanes and providing more public transportation options.

The Empowering People Initiative

Ministerial Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) initiative and the Equal by 30 Campaign that does not include oil and gas technology-oriented initiatives like Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen Hubs across the United States. Empowering society must include policies that enable an inclusive path to clean energy transition.

Financing Youth-Led Clean Energy Transition and Solutions

Young people comprise nearly 40% of the world’s population. They deserve to have a voice in a the transition to a clean energy future and youth leaders should have a larger voice and easier access to grant funding opportunities.

Quality Jobs for the Future and Netzero Workforce Strategies

Exploring key new job opportunities and labor markets in the clean energy transition that does not include fossil fuels or continued reliance on oil and natural gas industries. Reimagine Appalachia, Reimagine Beaver, Reimagine Jobs and Reimagine Turtle Creek are excellent examples of how this work can proceed.
Learn More at Reimagine Jobs

A Clean Energy Justice Success Story: The Centralia Model for Economic Transition in Distressed Communities, July 2021

Centralia in the Pacific Northwest has historically struggled economically. For decades the town’s largest employer was a strip mine, which employed 600 workers, and its other major private employer was a coal-fired power plant, which employed another 300. Now the mine is gone and operations at the power plant have been reduced by half as the plant works toward a planned retirement in 2025. After the coal mine closed in 2006 and it was announced that the power plant would retire in 2025, the mine’s and power plant’s owner, TransAlta Corporation, struck a deal with the state of Washington and environmental groups to fund an economic transition plan to help Centralia and other areas of the state adapt to the emerging clean energy economy. The company agreed to provide $55 million in funding over ten years, with the money going toward a Weatherization Fund, an Economic and Community Development Fund, and an Energy Technology Fund. Grants from those funds started being disbursed in 2016, and between 2016 and 2019, the following took place in the Centralia MSA:

  • GDP grew at twice the rate of the nation’s.
  • Jobs also grew at nearly twice the national rate.
  • Wage growth exceeded the national average.
  • Centralia’s and Lewis County’s populations grew faster than the national average as well. (ORVI, July 2021)

False Solutions

Dirty energy or nonrenewable energy sourced using fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal. Nonrenewable sources of energy are only available in limited amounts and perpetuate the “boom and bust” economic cycle that harms people and the environment over and over again. We ask CEM to reject fossil fuel solutions, especially:


Blue hydrogen is a fossil fuel solution. It is produced through an energy-intensive process that mixes methane gas with water to create carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen becomes an available fuel while the carbon dioxide emissions are captured and stored underground. This underground storage process is called carbon capture and storage or carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS).

Image Credit: Ohio River Valley Institute

Gray, Blue, Green, Pink and Brown Hydrogen

Gray Hydrogen

is made from fracked natural gas, a process that releases planet-warming methane and other pollution. The fracked gas is heated via “steam reforming,” yielding hydrogen. Gray hydrogen makes up 95% of U.S. production.

Blue Hydrogen

is exactly the same as gray hydrogen, except that some carbon emitted during the steam reforming process is then injected underground in a process called carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS is expensive and unproven on a large scale. It should be reserved for special cases, not used to justify more fossil fuel usage.

Green Hydrogen

is made from water and electrolysis powered by renewable energy, like solar or wind. The process is truly clean, creating zero carbon emissions. Only green hydrogen has the potential to meet demand cost-effectively and eliminate CO2 emissions. Programs outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act could make green hydrogen economically competitive.

Pink Hydrogen

is made using nuclear energy.

Brown Hydrogen

is made by burning coal.

Image Credit: Ohio River Valley Institute

Report: “Real Solutions for Climate Justice, Resist False Solutions to Climate Change: Hoodwinked in the Hothouse”

Photo Credit: The Indigenous Peoples' Network

Hydrogen and Public Health

The production of blue hydrogen also raises elevated health risks for people living in proximity to these large-scale industrial complexes. With larger facilities comes greater emissions and greater risks of spills, leaks or other contamination events. Given the right atmospheric conditions, pollution can travel for miles, impacting unsuspecting residents far from the source of emissions. A large-scale blue hydrogen industry would also facilitate more releases of climate-altering methane, which carries a heavy public health burden, as lethal storms, fires, heat waves, floods and other extreme weather events impact people’s physical and mental health worldwide.
Environmental Health Project Statement on the Public Health Impacts of Blue Hydrogen Production August 2022

Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization (CCUS)

The stated goal of CEM and many local Pennsylvania political and industry leaders is to ensure that “the potential of CCUS to reduce CO2 emissions from energy and industry is fully utilized. CCUS is a false solution promoted by the oil and gas industries. It would harm the health and safety of people and the environment and would NOT address climate change.

Photo Credit: DOE Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)
  • CCUS has yet to operate cost-effectively at scale.
  • Widespread adoption would drive up monthly electric bills by a quarter—and by over half in states like West Virginia that are heavily dependent on coal and natural gas. 
  • Of the 12 commercial CCUS projects in operation in 2021, more than 90 percent were engaged in enhanced oil recovery, using carbon dioxide emitted from natural gas processing facilities or from fertilizer, hydrogen or ethanol plants, according to an industry report .
    The net effect of CCUS is not climate-friendly. This process produces more natural gas and oil, increases carbon dioxide emissions and transfers carbon dioxide that was naturally locked away underground in one place to another one elsewhere. (New York Times, Aug. 16, 2022 )
  • CCUS would not mitigate the air, water, and ground pollution and the resulting health consequences that are caused by generating power from natural gas, coal and other fossil fuel sources.
  • CCUS would crowd out cheaper and cleaner renewable resources, which do not harm peoples’ health and which would provide far more well-paying jobs even in places that today are heavily reliant on coal and natural gas.

Petrochemicals and Plastic

Natural gas is still being touted as a “bridge fuel” despite that it is a dirty solution that pollutes the air and harms communities and the environment. There is evidence of methane leaks all along the supply chain, from well to burning, which is exacerbating climate change. Furthermore, with the help of federal subsidies, wind and solar are cheaper than natural gas, firmly landing us on the other side of the bridge.

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a perceived “clean” energy because no carbon dioxide or other toxic pollution is emitted when it operates and generates power. However, nuclear energy is not a climate solution – it is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive and too slow. It also has an immense radioactive waste problem and the waste cannot be disposed of in a manner that is entirely safe. At every stage, it inflicts environmental justice and human rights violations. Now we see nuclear power plants being used as weapons of war in the Ukraine. Other renewable energy solutions are less expensive and less risky.

Additional Resources
“A Citizens Guide to Successful Climate Transition” By Richard Carter

This webinar highlights emergent threats of climate false solutions across U.S. federal and state policy landscapes, featuring organizers, community leaders, researchers, and frontline organizations who are addressing false energy solutions and highlighting inspiring stories of success led by environmental justice communities. https://youtu.be/CsLe9vhICAQ