Climate Equity and Community Resilience

HARC’s Commitment to Climate Equity

HARC is committed to developing and implementing policies and programs that support ecological, societal, and economic health and vitality that will meet the needs of the present generation without compromising those of the future. With a focus on the sustainability pillars of environment, people, and the economy, HARC will use diverse investments and science-based strategies, in partnership with under-resourced communities, to:

  • reduce and eliminate harmful emissions;
  • create educational opportunities and good-paying jobs;
  • preserve and protect natural resources.

View our Commitment Statement

Climate Equity and Community Benefits Hubs

Climate equity involves ensuring the just distribution of the benefits of climate protection efforts and alleviating unequal burdens created by climate change. It means working to balance access to key resources, while protecting under-resourced communities and populations from environmental hazards, regardless of race, income, or other characteristics.

Climate equity solutions can be complex and must stem from strong relationships with local communities. Solutions should be developed with those communities, not simply for them. Getting to those solutions requires ongoing research and policy analysis to ensure that the final result is credible, cost-effective, and addresses community needs.

Our Community Benefits Hub framework aims to:

  • build capacity in disadvantaged communities;
  • empower community representatives; and
  • ensure accountability of benefits to communities.

HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub

An equitable transition to a clean energy future requires that the communities affected by industrial development and operations have the opportunity to participate in and influence the design and implementation of the energy systems that are intended to serve them.

As part of our climate equity strategy, HARC has joined the HyVelocity Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity), a collaborative of successful global energy partners working to advance clean hydrogen in the region. Through this DOE-funded program, HARC will work with HyVelocity partners to engage communities in planning for benefits programs that meet their needs and bring investment and good jobs to fenceline and disadvantaged communities.

THRIVE in Port Arthur

THRIVE is working Towards a Healthy, Resilient, Inclusive Vision for Everyone in Port Arthur.

THRIVE is a multi-stakeholder community environmental justice initiative aimed at clean air, water, and energy, flood and climate resilience, and improved housing, jobs, and health. Programs in this initiative include equity-informed climate and disaster planning; supporting increased access to solar and battery storage in low-income neighborhoods, particularly on emergency shelters; clean energy job training; and planning, development, and evaluation of a green infrastructure pilot incorporating a rain garden and permeable pavement to reduce low-level flooding. All programs have been developed with input and feedback from Port Arthur residents and community leaders directing goals and priorities.

As part of THRIVE, HARC in partnership with the Community In-Power Development Association, has developed the Equity Informed Climate Resilience Plan for Port Arthur (EQUIP PA), a community-led, climate data driven, and equity-informed resilience plan.

Supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under award number 2000013193, EQUIP PA incorporates data analysis, community input and feedback, and recommendations from resilience practitioners to visualize and prepare for Port Arthur’s future risks. By prioritizing stakeholder inclusion, equity, long-term preparedness, robust communication, and sustainability integration, EQUIP PA endeavors to become an all-encompassing guide for disaster recovery and community resilience in Port Arthur, and a guide for other Gulf Coast communities.

Read more - EQUIP PA

Climate Equity Programs

HARC’s commitment to climate equity is a discernible and integral part of all our work. Our programs and initiatives focus on providing science-based solutions for the impacts of climate change to all communities, particularly those that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in economic or social benefits, or who have limited or no access to resources, or who live in close proximity to a source of pollution.

Specific programs and initiatives include:

Solar for All – HARC is a coalition member of The Texas Solar for All Coalition, a coalition of municipalities and nonprofits in Texas led by Harris County. This Coalition was recently awarded a historic grant of $249.7 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide low-income communities with access to solar energy. The project aims to lower energy costs for over 46,000 low-income households across Texas.

Powered for Good – This project, funded by the DOE’s Solar Energy Technology Office, focused on delivering clean, affordable, 100% renewable electricity options for low-income households in Texas who can choose their electricity provider. Alongside Harris County Longterm Recovery and United Way, Powered for Good helped deliver 250 micro solar + storage units to organizations in the Houston area focused on keeping residents safe during extreme events.

ForUsTree – This USDA Forest Service funded project allows HARC, in partnership with several organizations, to use an equitable and inclusive community-based approach to plant trees, foster community resilience, implement reforestation projects and education activities, and improve access to employment in the most vulnerable and underserved communities in Houston and Harris County.

A Case for Cool Trees – This report, funded by the Mitsubishi Corporation, provides guidance on how to plan and conduct urban tree plantings equitably in order to reduce climate and health risks, and makes the evidence-based case for increasing tree canopy and improving tree equity in cities, especially for urban heat mitigation. The report highlights the importance of community-driven approaches to align planning, design, and implementation with the goals and vision of community members.

HARC is committed to developing and implementing policies and programs to support the health and vitality of under-resourced communities.

See Our Impact