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Should we phase out fossil fuels?
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The fossil fuel industry plays a critical role in the perpetuation of environmental racism

The fossil fuel industry subjects low-income communities, specifically those of color, to a lower standard of living. Pollution generated by fossil fuel power plants results in a large number of health issues and premature deaths in marginalized neighborhoods.

The Argument

Phasing out fossil fuels will begin to address environmental racism. Environmental racism is the concept that underrepresented communities become targets for locally undesirable land uses and are often subject to lax enforcement of zoning and environmental laws. These activities result in the previously mentioned community's disproportionate exposure to toxic materials. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for generating pollutants that obstruct breathing, pollutants which are proven to affect communities of racial minorities more often than others. [1] The Department of Environmental Protection also released a study in 2018, indicating that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air. [2] Since these communities are often poor, they would not have the means to voice their concerns. In turn, the fossil fuel industry takes advantage of their status as underrepresented and releases pollutants without repercussions. Making the switch from fossil fuel energy to clean energy would be the first step towards taking responsibility for environmental racism and its effects on target communities.

Counter arguments

The fossil fuel industry does not target communities of racial minorities because they are racist. Fossil fuel energy plants exist only to generate energy for the community at large. [3] Fossil fuel plants serve these communities by providing them with the electricity they need to survive. It is also possible that calling the fossil fuel industry environmentally racist is being used only to garner political favor. That by calling an industry racist, a politician is effectively stirring his or her base into action. [4] If that is the case, the issue more so lies in perception than it does its functional purpose.



Rejecting the premises

Further Reading


This page was last edited on Thursday, 5 Nov 2020 at 03:49 UTC

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