Ensuring Equity Through Climate Change Investments

President Biden established the Justice40 initiative within the first few weeks of his term, indicating his priority in tackling the climate crisis while creating economic opportunity for disadvantaged communities and progressing environmental justice.  

 The Justice40 initiative is a whole-of-government effort to ensure that Federal agencies work with states and local communities to make good on President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. 

 To this end, the Biden administration recently released a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to help Federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial agencies identify communities that qualify as disadvantaged under the Justice40 initiative. This tool aims to support Federal agencies as they examine eligible climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other programs to ensure they align with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 goals of delivering 40 percent of overall program benefits to disadvantaged communities.  

 The tool identifies communities by census tract and classifies communities as disadvantaged in relation to climate change, energy burden and air pollution, housing affordability and lead exposure, proximity to hazardous sites and wastewater discharge, health burdens, and unemployment and poverty. As such, this tool could also be utilized by developers and other organizations interested in targeting similar communities for investments and programming.