Environmental equity means protection from environmental hazards as well as access to environmental benefits, regardless of income, race, and other characteristics. Through research and collaborations with stakeholders, the Luskin Center for Innovation (LCI) advances the goal of environmental equity. This includes informing policies that empower communities, particularly low-income households, to access clean technologies and infrastructure. The work builds upon a framework for evaluation of environmental justice policies and programs, which LCI developed in collaboration with environmental justice stakeholders from across the U.S.

Our Research

Climate Equity

Climate change can disproportionately affect low-income communities least responsible for climate change. This inequity can be ameliorated through evidence-based policies that achieve both climate mitigation and adaptation goals, and that concentrate investments in disadvantaged communities. LCI research informs how billions of dollars in California Climate Investments are spent to maximize benefits in communities affected by pollution and poverty.
See research findings.

Energy Equity

New energy technologies, such as rooftop solar panels, are typically first adopted by affluent households. Yet those with the least income could benefit most from lower energy bills associated with energy efficiency retrofits, demand response programs, and rooftop solar. LCI research informs policy and information sharing approaches to bring the benefits of clean energy to those most in need, including access to solar power in affordable housing developments.
See research findings.

Transportation Equity

Low-income households are disproportionately affected by transportation-related air pollution and yet have fewer options for their own transportation compared to affluent households. LCI has informed the design and implementation of policies to provide low- and moderate-income households with cleaner mobility options, such as a program to trade in an old, efficient vehicle for transit passes or a cleaner car.
See research findings.

Water Equity

California is the only state in the nation to legally recognize a Human Right to Water. However, this right is not yet a reality in all communities, particularly in disadvantaged areas that receive water from private wells and small community water systems with limited capacities. LCI research furthers policy to affect the human right to water for all users, such as by guiding the design of a statewide water rate assistance program for low-income households.
See research findings.

Workforce Impacts
of Decarbonization

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy will create job opportunities for workers in a wide variety of industries. Understanding where in the economy these jobs will occur is important for designing workforce development policies that create career ladder opportunities and target workers from low-income communities. To support this effort, LCI conducts research that explores the workforce impacts of climate and clean energy policies.
See research findings.

Contact

Greg Pierce, program lead (water and transportation) Email | Profile
Colleen Callahan,  program lead (climate) Email | Profile
JR DeShazo, program lead (energy) Email | Profile