THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – JANUARY 17, 2020

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook and Twitter.

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record. Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”

— NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt in joint NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analysis about 2019 temperatures being the second hottest of the decade and the past five years being the warmest of the last 140 years

“This warming trend, scientists say, is undoubtedly the result of human-made climate change.”

— BuzzFeed article The Last Decade Was The Hottest On Record Thanks To Global Warming by Zahra Hirji

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

E & E News: Greens look to boost climate message in presidential primary

NH Labor News: Representatives Pappas And Dingell Introduce House Resolution To Defend Safeguards For Our Clean Water

The Guardian: How bad can the climate crisis get if Trump wins again?

The Washington Post: The Energy 202: Democrats spar over environmental impact of Trump’s North America trade deal

Bloomberg Environment: Where Green Issues Could Matter on Congressional Campaign Trail

E&E News: House resolution urges EPA to stop rollbacks

 

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:

Utility Dive (NJ): New Jersey sets high standard with passage of EV incentive bill, advocates say

East Oregonian (OR): Revised climate change bill creates new battle lines for 2020 session

WXPR (WI): Polls Show Democrats Want Candidates Prioritizing Climate Change

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: Candidates continued making climate a clear priority. Warren and Yang hosted climate events in New Hampshire, Sanders focused on climate at an Iowa rally, Buttigieg posted an op-ed in rural Nevada, Steyer released a plan to pay for climate policies, Bloomberg released multiple climate-related plans, and more.  

WEEKEND READ: Check out these two weekend reads in The Guardian! One from a group of young climate activists (including Greta), urging world leaders to abandon the fossil fuel economy, and the other calling out racist housing policies that are linked to deadly heat wave exposure. These articles put into perspective what the climate crisis looks like for the next generation as well as people of color. 

IOWA DEBATE: On Tuesday, Drake University and CNN hosted the seventh Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, which was the last debate before caucuses and primaries begin. At this juncture, with more than half of the debates completed, the climate crisis was given the time it deserves, reflecting its importance to voters (more on that below 👇). All the candidates discussed climate change and their solutions regarding combating the crisis. 

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The people of Iowa spoke, and the candidates and moderators listened. Kudos to CNN, the Des Moines Register and every single presidential candidate on stage tonight for responding to Iowa caucus-goers’ demands for a substantive exchange about the ambitious solutions necessary to combat the climate crisis. Iowa voters are climate voters, and in the final weeks before the caucuses we look forward to hearing even more from candidates about how they will prioritize immediate action on climate that builds a more just and sustainable society.”

CHANGE THE CLIMATE 2020: This week LCV’s  $3.1 million Change the Climate 2020 program, which is elevating climate action in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, expanded to Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin ahead of the states’ March and April contests. We also released new polling of Democratic primary voters in all three states, which found that addressing climate change is a determining factor in who voters will choose as their presidential candidate — across the board, climate change tied with health care at the top of voters’ priorities.

OUR TAKE: LCV’s Change the Climate 2020 Program Director Matt McKnight said, “The climate crisis is a defining issue of the 2020 primary — voters are consistently ranking climate as one of their top issues and choosing their candidates based on who is making it a very top priority. LCV is making sure the eventual nominee is committed to immediate action. As the early primaries and caucuses quickly approach, LCV and the Conservation Voter Movement of state affiliates are uniquely positioned to keep up the momentum in the next phase of primary contests in Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin, where voters are clearly demanding that the candidates run on bold climate solutions.”

COLORADO’S TAKE: Executive Director of Conservation Colorado Kelly Nordini said, “As presidential candidates head up to the Rocky Mountains, they should step up their emphasis on climate action. In the past year, Colorado has made historic strides in battling climate change, setting science-based targets to reduce pollution. Candidates who want to win here should follow our example by making climate action their top priority.”

MICHIGAN’S TAKE: Executive Director of Michigan LCV Lisa Wozniak said, “Michiganders of all political stripes are increasingly concerned about their own health and the health of their children that continues to be at risk from toxic contamination in our drinking water and air. Plans are fine, but our message to candidates is don’t come here unless you’re prepared to talk specifically about how you’re going to tackle these twin crises: toxic contamination and climate change. Michiganders are expecting it.” 

WISCONSIN’S TAKE: Executive Director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters Kerry Schumann said, “Wisconsin voters are clamoring for action on climate change and water quality. We’re seeing it in the many local communities that are committing to 100% clean energy. We’re hearing about it in the heartbreaking stories of people getting sick from drinking contaminated water. Presidential candidates need to be clear that they are taking on these issues in a very serious way.”

CLEAN WATER RESOLUTION: This week LCV co-hosted a telepresser with Michigan LCV and Representatives Debbie Dingell and Chris Pappas to introduce a new resolution to protect the Clean Water Act. Trump has been trying to gut clean water regulations by taking the law apart piece by piece.

CVM TAKE: Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “Michigan is surrounded by 90% of the nation’s fresh surface water — clean water is critical to our economy, our health, and our vitality. We are grateful to Representatives Dingell and Pappas for prioritizing protection of the Clean Water Act while the Trump administration tries to take us backwards, putting the health and wellbeing of our children and families at risk. Cleaning up toxic contamination and protecting our water for future generations must be a top priority for our government.”

TRUMP HATES CLEAN CARS: The Trump administration has yet again set its sights on rolling back an environmental safeguard. Their plan to gut Obama-era fuel-economy standards has just been sent to the OMB and is awaiting finalization. These standards were created to help increase fuel economy and provide incentives for clean cars, both of which would help to make our air cleaner, and if this imminent rollback aligns with the administration’s trend of prioritizing industry over people’s wellbeing, it will be a significant setback for our air and the climate crisis.   

…AND CLEAN WATER: It appears that Trump is planning to announce the finalization of the Dirty Water Rule this weekend when he addresses the American Farm Bureau Federation at their convention. The proposed rule was the largest rollback of clean water safeguards we have seen and the final rule could be even worse, wiping out protections for millions of miles of streams that feed our drinking water and millions of acres of wetlands that filter drinking water and protect against flooding. And despite the location of the announcement, the rule isn’t about farming, it’s about letting large polluters like the oil and gas industry, coal companies, and home developers have free rein to destroy wetlands and fill in streams. Trump is again putting the health of our families and the drinking water of millions of people at risk just to help the profits of his polluter buddies. 

BLACKROCK INVESTS IN CLIMATE: In Blackrock’s annual letter to their clients, CEO Larry Fink has pledged to make climate a significant factor in their decisions — they plan to avoid investments with companies that pose a threat to environmental sustainability. This decision was made after much public pressure from activists and members of Congress, and has the potential to spur other large money managers to take similar action. Once again, as the Trump administration continues to rollback important climate and environmental safeguards, others are picking up the slack. As Fink says in his letter, “there is no denying the direction we are heading. Every government, company, and shareholder must confront climate change.”

BLACK AND BROWN GIRLS ROCK: LCV National Campaigns Director Emily Crerand participated in a live taping of the Brown Girls Guide to Politics podcast. The podcast focuses on Black and Brown womxn in senior political positions sharing their experiences. We’re excited to see Emily talk about what it’s like to be a woman of color in politics. Stay tuned for when the live link drops! 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

STATE OF THE STATES (CO, ME, NJ, WA): As governors across the country prepare for and deliver their state of the state addresses, they’re prioritizing clean energy and climate change, showing the kind of leadership we need while the Trump administration shirks its responsibility to people across the country. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy used his State of the State to renew his commitment to 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind power. Colorado Governor Jared Polis laid out plans to improve access to public lands, increase renewable energy and act on climate. in Washington, Governor Inslee called on the legislature to pass a low-carbon fuel standard. And, in Maine, prior to delivering her speech — which is slated to take place on Monday — Governor Mills has been touting her clean energy achievements and naming it a top priority for next year.  

NO MORE DARK MONEY (AZ): After much public pressure from groups like Chispa Arizona, the state’s largest corporate utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), which has spent tens of millions of dollars electing their own regulators, has committed to staying out of these corporate commissioner races in the future. Chispa Arizona Advocacy Director Gloria Montano Greene testified this week in front of the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) saying, “Arizona has some of the dirtiest air in the nation.  We also seem to have dirty politics that we would like to clean up.  We welcome change in APS, and that means more accountability and transparency.”  

PUT IT IN DRIVE GOVERNOR (NJ): New Jersey’s electric vehicle bill passed both the Assembly and Senate. It now only awaits Governor Murphy’s signature. Among many things, the bill will encourage more charging stations in the state, provide a $5,000 rebate for purchasing an electric vehicle, and set goals to entirely electrify New Jersey’s bus fleet by 2032.  This is a great step in the right direction for healthier communities. 

CVM TAKE: Executive Director Ed Potosnak of New Jersey LCV said, “On behalf of the 167,000 children in New Jersey living with asthma, the New Jersey Legislature took the boldest action in America to accelerate our transition to zero-emission transportation with the bipartisan passage of electric vehicle legislation. We urge Governor Murphy to sign this critical bill to improve public health and address climate change without delay.”

POWER UP (NC): NowThis published a video this week about North Carolina Conservation Voters Foundation’s PowerUP program, which is helping to weatherize homes and train weatherization technicians to help create more energy-efficient homes, especially in low-income communities.  

VERMONT CLIMATE ACTION (VT): Vermont Conservation Voters and a coalition of 29 other Vermont organizations ranging from businesses, youth organizations, and public health have all presented a climate plan for 2020. The plan prioritizes developing plans to meet the Paris Climate Accord commitments and net-zero carbon emissions, committing to 100% renewable energy by the year 2030, modernizing Vermont’s energy efficiency utilities, and investing in cleaner transportation options. 

CVM TAKE: Vermont Conservation Voters Executive Director Lauren Hierl said, “This platform represents legislative actions we need in order for Vermont to change its trajectory and do its part on global warming. We have seen vocal support from a wide range of Vermont politicians about the need to meet our pollution reduction targets, and now it’s time to act on those pledges. The 2020 legislative session is the time to align state government around these vital efforts.”

#GIVEITBACK (MT): Senator Daines’ previous commitment of fully funding LWCF has fallen short — about halfway to be exact. Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) has decided to release a limited edition #GiveItBack vodka. The vodka will come in half bottles as a tribute to Senator Daines only securing $495M instead of the full $900M. The bottles will be given out to the first 100 adults to purchase tickets to MCV’s annual membership celebration.

CVM TAKE: Executive Director of Montana Conservation Voters Aaron Murphy said, “As a member of the party in control of the Senate’s agenda and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Montanans expect more than lip service from Senator Daines; we expect him to fight for our public lands like a true champion. With the release of #GiveItBack Vodka, we’re raising our glasses again to call on Senator Daines to give back what our public lands deserve by fully funding LWCF.”

COMING UP:

January 21: Citizens United 10 year anniversary 👎

February 2: World Wetlands Day

February 3: Iowa Caucus 

February 4: State of the Union

February 7: New Hampshire Debate

February 10: President Trump releases Dirty Budget FY21

February 11: New Hampshire Primary 

February 19: Nevada Debate

February 22: Nevada Caucus 

February 25: South Carolina Debate

February 29: South Carolina Primary 

March 10: NEPA rule comment period deadline

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