Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Molly Tafoya, The Greenlining Institute Communications Director,

Press Release

Groundbreaking Climate Action Model Puts Communities in Charge

New Report Says California’s "Transformative Climate Communities" Should Be National Model; Case Studies Highlight Real-World Impact in Oakland, Ontario, Stockton & Northeast San Fernando Valley

With the urgent need to act on climate change getting more attention at COP26, in Washington and around the U.S., a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds that an innovative California program, Transformative Climate Communities, could be a national model for climate action. Unlike most government programs, TCC puts communities in charge, giving them the power and resources to fight climate change and build stronger, healthier, more economically resilient communities. Focusing on low-income communities on the front lines of climate change, TCC links elements that are too often treated separately – like clean energy, carbon-free transportation and affordable housing – into unified, community-led plans designed to reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and improve quality of life. 

“Climate change doesn’t hit everyone equally,” said former Stockton Mayor and current special adviser to Gov. Newsom Michael Tubbs. “Redlining and environmental racism left communities of color like South Stockton with the worst pollution, the least green space and the fewest resources to cope with climate disasters. But the people in our neighborhoods know what we need, and can lead us to solutions. That’s what Transformative Climate Communities does. Instead of empowering bureaucrats, it empowers frontline communities to design and implement real change, fighting climate change and building thriving, healthier neighborhoods. This is what the future of climate action must look like, both here in California and around the nation.”

Green Alley BEFORE.JPG

Green Alley AFTER.JPG

Bradley Green Alley in Pacoima, before and after the area's Transformative Climate Communities project.

Five years after the program’s creation, via legislation sponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Greenlining conducted a rigorous qualitative evaluation of how TCC’s components work together to deliver equitable outcomes and what improvements might be needed. The resulting report, Fighting Redlining and Climate Change with Transformative Climate Communities, was published today along with detailed case studies of TCC projects in Oakland, Ontario, Stockton & the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Residents and leaders of these communities are available for media interviews.

“Transformative Climate Communities is a bold, new approach to climate policy that’s been needed for a long time,” said report author Emi Wang, Greenlining’s Associate Director of Capacity Building. “Redlining and disinvestment made sure that communities of color got stuck with the worst pollution and fewest resources, but TCC empowers those same communities to take control.  And TCC treats communities as a whole. Instead of looking at transportation, housing and clean power separately, TCC links them and more together so they all work in harmony. It’s time to expand this model nationally and use the urgent fight against climate change to build healthier, more resilient and prosperous communities for all -- not just a privileged few.”

The report’s key findings include:

  • With 18 planning grants and eight implementation grants issued so far, the TCC model is working -- helping communities design and implement real change based on needs they themselves identify, fighting climate change and improving their neighborhoods. “Residents know their voice is not only being heard but we’re doing something about it,” said Jasmine Silva of Community Partners, administrator of the Northeast San Fernando Valley project.
  • Even though implementation has only recently started in many places, TCC is already producing concrete results, from a new bikeshare program that’s expanding clean transportation and creating jobs in East Oakland to a formerly neglected alley now reclaimed as a community green space in Pacoima, part of the Northeast San Fernando Valley TCC effort. Projects in the works include affordable housing near transit, EV charging, solar panels for low-income households and more. Overall, these communities are on track to reducing nearly 200,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions over the next five years, equivalent to removing nearly 43,000 cars from the road.
  • TCC represents a new model for climate action that should be expanded within California and replicated nationally. Contrary to the false narrative that climate action means a loss of jobs, TCC shows how communities can use efforts to cut CO2 emissions to create jobs and build healthier, stronger neighborhoods.
  • Despite these great successes, challenges remain. Inconsistent and inadequate funding has greatly limited the number of projects that could be funded and made it difficult for communities to plan. Also, California should reduce administrative and financial burdens that make it difficult for under-resourced cities and counties to participate. Advocates were heartened by a funding increase approved in the recently-concluded California state budget process, but future funding is not guaranteed. The state must adequately and consistently fund the pathway from planning to implementation, and support the local ecosystems needed to support community transformation.


Greenlining is the solution to redlining. We advance economic opportunity and empowerment for people of color through advocacy, community and coalition building, research, and leadership development.

Advocates Applaud as FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft-Activsion Mega-Merger

Biden's FTC, said one consumer campaigner, "is showing, once again, that it is serious about enforcing the law, reversing corporate concentration, and taking on the tough cases."

Brett Wilkins ·

Press Freedom Champions Renew Call for DOJ to Drop Charges Against Assange

"It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange—a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself."

Jessica Corbett ·

Oral Arguments Boost Fears of SCOTUS Buying Theory That Would 'Sow Elections Chaos'

"This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country," one campaigner said of Moore v. Harper.

Jessica Corbett ·

War Industry 'Celebrating Christmas Early' as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

"There is no justification to throw... $858 billion at the Pentagon when we're told we can't afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities," said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "End of story."

Brett Wilkins ·

GOP Florida Lawmaker Behind 'Don't Say Gay' Law Charged with Covid Relief Fraud

"It does not surprise me that someone who exploits queer kids for political gain would be charged with exploiting taxpayers for personal gain," said one Democratic state lawmaker.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo