Climate Equity, Community Engagement, and Community Benefits Hubs


Climate Equity and Community Engagement at HARC

Climate equity ensures the just distribution of the benefits of climate protection efforts and alleviates unequal burdens created by climate change. It works to balance access to key resources, while protecting underserved communities and populations from environmental hazards, regardless of race, income, or other characteristics.

While the benefits of energy are vast, its production has caused serious problems for underserved and fenceline communities. Scientists have concluded that greenhouse gases are the primary contributor of climate change. The absence of public and private investments in underserved communities, coupled with high-emitting facilities in fenceline communities has created a climate equity challenge.

Low- and zero-emitting sources of energy that are expected to result from the current energy transition, along with deliberate and strategic community investments, will help to effectively address these challenges.

HARC is committed to collaborating with businesses and government, and engaging in dialogue and collaboration with community leaders and members to help them participate in government decision-making, and gain access to government funding to develop and implement effective solutions to address climate equity, with a focus in the energy and water sectors. Our Climate Equity and Community Engagement program informs and supports co-development and implementation of climate equity and resilience initiatives in underserved communities.

Our Goals

Climate equity solutions can be complex. These solutions must stem from strong relationships with local communities and 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.

Bridging the gap between climate action and equity requires the kind of objective research and analysis HARC has been conducting on climate issues for decades. All our work is based on science, sustainability, and solutions. We are committed to finding solutions that address the challenges communities want addressed, that are feasible and fair, and that can be used in communities in Texas and beyond.

Our goals include:

  1. Establishing strong working relationships with key organizations and leaders within underserved communities to understand community needs and concerns related to climate equity and sustainability.
  2. Consulting and partnering with stakeholders from underserved communities to seek funding from various sources to implement co-created projects and initiatives that address climate equity and resilience.
  3. Establishing the Climate Equity and Community Engagement Advisory Board to advise and support these efforts.
  4. Working with underserved communities to build their expertise and capacity to implement climate equity and resilience solutions and to co-develop strategic initiatives to address these needs.

Community Benefits Hubs

As billions of dollars are being invested into new clean energy hubs to decarbonize the industrial sector, we must also build up the connective social infrastructure and support systems to ensure that the benefits of those investments flow to the disadvantaged communities most affected by climate change.

The Community Benefits Hub framework aims to:

  • uplift disadvantaged communities through capacity building and technical assistance;
  • empower community representatives through participation and agency in decision making processes; and
  • ensure accountability of the benefits flowing to those communities.

Find out more about Community Benefits Hubs here.

For more information on our Climate Equity and Community Engagement program, please contact:

Dana Harmon
Senior Advisor, Climate Equity

Erin Kinney, PhD
Program Manager, Climate Equity and Community Engagement