top of page

Energy Justice in NC

Each year, the United Nations’ climate report predicts a bleak future if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced. For its part, North Carolina has set a goal to reduce 70% of carbon dioxide emissions in electric power production by 2030. However, the state must carefully consider the different pathways it can take to achieve this goal. The transition to a carbon-free North Carolina could strengthen democracy and prioritize racial and social justice, but if the state fails to engage with its communities meaningfully, it risks perpetuating the legacy of racist policies such as indigenous removal, Jim Crow laws, redlining, and Black land loss.

Communities of color and low-income communities, also known as "environmental justice" communities, are disproportionately affected by both the climate crisis and the policies enacted to address it. For example, using swine waste biogas to offset emissions from fossil fuels can increase energy bills for low-income communities and create pollution hotspots in the same areas due to antiquated swine waste management technology. Without significant reforms, North Carolina's efforts to address climate change will only exacerbate existing racial and economic inequalities.

Members of the Duke Climate Justice team walk over hog waste digester.

The state’s current efforts to engage the public on issues of transportation, environmental permitting, and in the development of its Carbon Plan have failed to center or even meaningfully consider the voices of the communities impacted by these policies and more. Going forward, it is crucial that stakeholders, especially from North Carolina’s most vulnerable communities, are an integral part of the decisions that will affect their lives and the future of our state.

bottom of page