Energy and Climate Change


“…The evidence that the top of the world is growing warmer is to be found on every hand. The recession of the northern glaciers is going on at such a rate that many smaller ones have already disappeared. If the present rate of melting continues others will soon follow them.” —Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

Climate change is not a distant disaster.

Caused by the burning of fossil fuels, unsustainable agricultural practices, the destruction of forests, and excessive levels of consumption, the effects of climate change are now unmistakable in the United States, and even more so in the developing world. We are witnessing increased temperatures, more severe hurricanes, extended droughts, changes in agricultural patterns leading to food scarcity, loss of biodiversity, melting glaciers and rising sea levels, public health epidemics, and forced migration. These adverse impacts of global warming are disproportionately borne by communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world.

The Rachel Carson Council works to build strong links between traditional environmental organizing, national advocacy, and the climate justice movement, which has led the effort to underscore that communities and countries exploited through racial and economic inequality are the most vulnerable to climate change. The Rachel Carson Council also aims to support and join the mobilization of communities most affected by climate change and to work to reduce income inequality by advocating for the creation of jobs in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and energy efficiency.


Climate change makes building a movement for economic and social justice more urgent than ever.


The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Fracking, Environmental Justice, and Civic Action

Natural gas has been touted as a path to a less carbon-intensive energy, increased economic prosperity, and more jobs. In recent years, however, studies have found that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) contaminates air, water, land, and poses serious threats to human health. In addition, fracking waste is more likely to be located in low-income communities of color. Fracking is not yet banned in North Carolina, Texas, or Maryland, but through our research, we seek to expand public knowledge about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline as well as the public health and environmental justice threats it presents.

The Rachel Carson Council’s comprehensive report, Blast Zone, explores the economic and political forces driving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), the proposed $5.5 billion, 600-mile structure that will transport fracked natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins to markets in Virginia and North Carolina.



The Biofuel Industry: Wood Pellets, Enviva and Environmental Justice

Though touted as a clean, environmentally safe alternative to fossil fuels, wood pellets are a carbon-intense, destructive and polluting industry based in flawed carbon accounting in international agreements.

The industrial-scale production of wood pellets arrived in the Southeastern United States in the early 2000s bolstered by growing European and global need for alternative, sustainable fuel sources. The Rachel Carson Council’s new report, Clear Cut, highlights the fallacies and economic and political injustices surrounding the industry, focusing on Enviva, the largest producer of wood pellets globally, and its operations within North Carolina.