THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – July 26, 2019

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.

LCV wants to make our weekly tipsheet, This Week in Climate (In)Action, more useful for you. Take our quick survey to let us know what is working and what we can improve. 

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

“Bittersweet. Just gave my 250th climate speech. We are getting there, but it is such a shame that evil forces have been so successful in stifling our progress on such a serious problem — with costs to be borne by others for so many decades. Yup, bittersweet.”

— Senator Sheldon Whitehouse via Twitter after delivering his 250th Time to Wake Up climate speech on the Senate floor.

 

“We desperately need climate action, we desperately need climate justice, and we cannot have one without the other.”

— Representative Donald McEachin speaking at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on building our country’s clean future.

 

“Thank you @GovMurphy, for signing the Global Warming Response Act.  As a co-sponsor of this legislation, I am hopeful that we will all work together to continue to move New Jersey forward towards a clean-energy decarbonized future.  Thank you @NJLCV for your advocacy.”

— New Jersey Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese via Twitter after Governor Murphy signed updates to the Global Warming Response Act into law.

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

Think Progress: In a historic first, two climate forums announced for 2020 Democratic candidates

E&E News: Dems debate in Motor City. Will cars and climate be a focus?

NBC News: Why the climate campaign is the most important campaign, with Gov. Jay Inslee

Eos: House Committee Calls for Zero Greenhouse Gas Pollution by 2050

Michigan Live: Bernie Sanders calls for shutdown of Line 5 pipeline 

 

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:

 

MLive (MI): Michigan state parks, carpool lots, could have electric vehicle charging stations under bipartisan bills

NJ.com (NJ): New legislation will help N.J. meet its aggressive clean energy goals

Patch (CT): Newington Receives Open Space Funding

Associated Press (ID): Some Idaho Hispanic groups worry census outreach falls short

 

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: 2020 candidates are prioritizing climate change. Check out this week’s roundup of what candidates have said and done to put climate action front and center.

SHOOTING THE MOON: Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand released her $10 trillion plan to combat climate change. It commits to net-zero emissions by 2050, green jobs, holding polluters accountable, and putting frontline communities at the center of her policies, all of which she suggests will make our country a leader in a “21st-century clean energy ‘space race.’” Gillibrand also notes that she will protect clean air, clean water — which she deems fundamental human rights.

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Senator Gillibrand is right; the climate crisis is the most serious threat we face and her plan outlines the kind of ambitious steps we must take to fight it. By achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, holding polluters accountable, phasing out fossil fuels, investing in our green jobs economy, and centering frontline communities, Gillibrand’s plan builds on her strong record of climate leadership in Congress.”

JUSTICE AT THE CENTER: On Thursday, the newest presidential candidate, Tom Steyer, put out a Framework for a Justice-Centered Climate Plan. Among many things, Steyer’s plan includes justice-based pollution reduction targets, a people-powered economy and climate corps, and investments in climate infrastructure and resiliency. 

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are excited to see that Tom Steyer’s Justice-Centered Climate Plan prioritizes community driven climate solutions while investing in family sustaining jobs, ending giveaways to big polluters, and setting a goal of a 100% clean energy economy by no later than 2045. This is the kind of leadership we need to take on the biggest crisis of our time.”  

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL, STAY TUNED FOR CLIMATE: CNN announced this week that in September, they will hold a Democratic presidential town hall focused on the climate crisis.Candidates who meet the DNC’s polling threshold will be invited to participate, providing an opportunity for top candidates to more deeply engage on climate change and show voters how they will act to fight this crisis from day one of their presidency.

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “This is the kind of attention the climate crisis deserves. We applaud CNN for holding a presidential candidate climate forum on September 4. We look forward to hearing candidates discuss ambitious plans to act on climate on day one and every day of their presidency — at the next debate, this forum, and throughout their primary.”

AND ANOTHER ONE: Yesterday, MSNBC was announced as a media partner for the GU Politics/Our Daily Planet Climate Forum on September 19th and 20th. Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi will moderate the forum and it will be streamed live on NBC News Now with two nights of special coverage on MSNBC.

CLEAN ENERGY & WATER = WINNING ISSUES IN MICHIGAN: LCV and the Michigan League of Conservation released new polling that reinforced voter support for environmental issues in Michigan. Seventy-seven percent of voters believe environmental and climate problems are important, and 75 percent of voters want candidates to commit to investing in water infrastructure. There is also strong support for a clean energy economy. 

OUR TAKE: Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak said, “Here in Michigan, we are feeling the impacts of climate change right now with record-high water levels, toxic algae blooms and extreme weather that knocks out power for days. The lack of attention to climate change at the last debate in Miami was a missed opportunity, which is why we are calling on candidates in Detroit to lay out bold plans for tackling climate change and make it a top priority.”

OUR TAKE 2: LCV SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Every single presidential candidate owes the people of Michigan a plan for how they’ll confront climate change beginning on day one of their presidency and continuing throughout.  Michigan voters deserve candidates, debates and media coverage that take the climate crisis incredibly seriously.”

LESS GAS, MORE MILEAGE: Automakers from BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen — which represent 30 percent of the U.S. auto market — struck a deal with the California Air Resources Board to manufacture fleets that are more fuel-efficient. They intend to raise average gas mileage of their cars to 50 miles per gallon by 2026, which would improve public health, save consumers money and combat climate change. The art of this deal — it thwarts Trump’s huge climate policy rollback of clean car standards. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Clean Energy Program Director Sara Jordan said, “This is welcome news that stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s reckless rollback of the clean car standards, showing just how completely out of step the Trump administration is with scientists, public health experts, consumers, and even the auto industry.”

#100BY50: This week the House Energy and Commerce committee announced that they were adopting the goal of a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. We know this is good policy and good politics —  over 600 of the candidates who signed LCV’s Clean Energy For All commitment in 2018 won election. The committee will hold hearings and meet with stakeholders as they devise comprehensive climate legislation that they intend to introduce later this year.

OUR TAKE: LCV VP of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo told EoS that the committee’s plan is how we “actually make these visionary goals into legislation” and highlighted the importance of doing so in an inclusive way where all stakeholders are heard. 

NOT TODAY TRUMP!: This week, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco put a temporary stop to the administration’s newest attack on immigrant communities, a rule that would require asylum seekers to have applied for and been denied asylum in countries they passed through en route to the United States. Not only are many asylum seekers fleeing life-threatening violence, but food scarcity and poverty — conditions strongly linked to the impacts of climate change —  are motivating migration too.  

FROM TRUMP’S EPA –> LCV: Matthew H. Davis, MPH, who worked in the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection, has joined LCV as our new legislative director. Read more about his journey through the environmental movement, which included two and a half years of trying, as best he could, from inside Trump’s EPA, to protect the health of those most affected by climate change — children on the front lines of environmental inequity and pollution.    

STAY OUT OF THE WATER!: A study by Environment America Research Policy Center and Frontier Group found high levels of fecal pollution creating unsafe swimming conditions at 60 percent of the 4,523 beaches they tested. The report says the bacteria causes around 57 million cases of waterborne illness a year and stems from urban runoff, sewage overflows, and livestock manure. As the Trump administration continues to push to rollback our clean water protections, it is clearer than ever that we need to be doing more, not less, to ensure our water is safe for all families to drink, swim, and play in. 

 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES

 

Here are some highlights from this week:

 

GET COUNTED (ID): Idaho advocacy groups, including our state partner, Conservation Voters for Idaho, are increasingly concerned about an undercount in the 2020 census after Trump’s citizenship question scare tactic. Illegal immigrants are hesitant to participate because they are scared of discovery and deportation, but an accurate count is necessary to obtain accurate political representation and equitably allocate federal funds. 

THE CVM’S TAKE: Conservation Voters for Idaho Voting Rights Associate Antonio Hernandez said, “Conservation Voters for Idaho is taking the lessons we’ve learned in our efforts to increase participation in elections by Idaho’s Latino population, and the barriers that can sometimes arise in that process to support the efforts locally, regionally and statewide to inform a comprehensive strategy to reach out to one of the fasting growing populations in the state. A complete count of all Idahoans is important to ensuring that the next decade of funding and public policy accurately reflects our families and communities.”

GARDEN STATE GOES GREEN (NJ): New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Updated Global Warming Response Act. This groundbreaking legislation requires New Jersey to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050 and reduce short-lived carbon pollutants like methane and black carbon.  

THE CVM’S TAKE: Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Ed Potosak said, “Under the Governor’s leadership – and facilitated by the actions of the Legislature – addressing the climate crisis has been a priority. Today, we took another step forward, codifying our place as a national leader in addressing the climate crisis by updating the Global Warming Response Act to mandate the NJDEP to promulgate regulations that ensure we meet our economy-wide decarbonization goals.”

LET THE SUN SHINE IN (VA): Climate Action Virginia hosted a solar energy information session as part of the Clean Energy for All campaign. They covered clean energy policy and ways to go solar as part of the agenda to move Virginia towards 100 percent clean energy. 

NO ANTS INVITED (MT): Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) threw a picnic to celebrate wins in the Montana state legislature with MCV members. Senator Pat Flores and Representatives Laurie Bishop, Zach Brown, and Chris Pope, all of whom received a 100 percent on the MCV’s legislative scorecard, joined the festivities. 

THE CVM’S TAKE: Executive Director of MCV Aaron Murphy said, “We’re pleased to have had such a strong group of conservation champions for the 2019 legislative session,” said Aaron Murphy, Executive Director for MCV. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead to keep protecting Montana’s clean air, clean water and public lands and these legislators are key to our shared success. We also have a lot of work ahead to make sure all Montanans know about the shortcomings of the elected leaders who failed our climate, our environment and our kids.

 

COMING UP: 

July 30-31: Second Democratic Primary Debates

August 1: House Select Committee on Climate Crisis Hearing in Boulder, Colorado

September 20-27: Global Climate Strike Week

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