Climate Justice

Global climate change is a potentially catastrophic problem. Unchecked climate change will disrupt people’s access to the basic elements of life – food, water, shelter, and health. Because greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are nearly always the result of economic activities, economic policy will play a key role in any effort to mitigate climate change. The size and imminence of the danger from climate change calls for using all potential levers of economic policy—at all levels of government—to reorient economic activity away from GHG emissions. This transition must be guided by principles of racial equity and economic justice that protect, support, and empower working people and highly impacted communities.



EARN Industrial Policy Resource Library

Welcome to the Economic Analysis and Research (EARN) Industrial Policy Resource Library. This document is maintained by Economic Policy Institute (EPI) staff who support the work of over 60 state and local research and policy organizations who make up the EARN network across 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The library consists of a curated, annotated compilation of links to practical resources of use to those working at the state and local level to leverage federal investments toward creating good union jobs, increasing worker power, and building high-road workforce training partnerships that advance racial and gender equity.

This resource library is designed for use by EARN groups and their many labor and grassroots partners, policymakers and public agency staff, and other stakeholders and allies who are working on the state and local level to maximize the long-term economic benefits of federal industrial policy investments created or expanded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and CHIPS and Science Act.

Historic federal investments in infrastructure and clean energy transition created by the BIL, IRA, and CHIPS and Science Act are providing unprecedented opportunities to advance many of the economic justice goals EARN groups and their partners have long fought for—good jobs, worker power, strong labor standards, and progress on racial, gender, and climate justice. But these outcomes are by no means automatic, and a myriad of important policy choices and challenges lie ahead for every state and local jurisdiction across the country.

In this context, state and local policies, programs, and practices shaping labor standards and worker power have never been more important. Some of the funding opportunities and mechanisms in these laws require the kinds of labor standards necessary to ensure that good jobs, equity, and worker power result from major public investments. In most cases, however, these labor standards are purely optional, if they are mentioned at all. Individual federal program and funding rules are highly variable across agencies, allowing wide latitude for state and local governments and labor and community stakeholders to shape the uses of many federal funds and the rules that private employers and contractors receiving funds will be expected to follow.

This resource library is intended to serve as a hub for 1) sharing practical guidance on navigating complex information streams associated with the three major industrial policy bills and the federal agencies administering them, and 2) providing easy access to how-to guides best practices, and implementation resources designed for state and local advocates.

Last updated April 11, 2024

Alliant proposal: Equity, efficiency failure

The proposed Alliant rate increase is a sweeping denial of equitable treatment of customers and a rejection of environmental responsibility.

Alliant Energy, called Interstate Power and Light (IPL) in Iowa, is proposing a nearly 25 percent increase in its basic service rate. Since Alliant divides its charges to customers into energy, transmission, and basic service, the total bill increase will not be that large but it is a pretty big increase.

Since electric utilities are monopolies, some entity needs to “regulate” their actions. In Iowa this is the role of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), which must decide on the rate increase. The IUB can certainly reduce the proposed rate and can change the way IPL wants to charge individual customers.

Flooding impacts and climate change: An uncertain future for Iowa

Iowa is becoming hotter and wetter because of climate change, putting a policy response in the hands of leaders who already are dealing with problems of more frequent flooding that may become more extreme events as our climate changes. “Science is giving us warnings,” said James E. Boulter, a professor of Chemistry in the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.
“Even those who have not lived it have seen the pictures, of rooftops surrounded by floodwaters, breached levees, destroyed grain bins and impassable roads. Flooding is getting worse, and we have public policy options that can lessen the impact in the coming years.” Boulter’s new report for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project notes total statewide damage estimates from the 2019 flooding are staggering and likely to rise.