THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – June 1, 2018

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

“One year after the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, communities all over the Commonwealth have stepped up to protect our coasts and embrace clean energy. I am proud to receive the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund’s endorsement for a second term in the U.S. Senate and look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with the community to leave a healthier planet for our children.”

–Senator Tim Kaine on receiving LCV Action Fund’s endorsement on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

 

“June 1 is not the anniversary of an end to one of the world’s greatest acts of consensus; it is a celebration of what Americans have done to fill the federal void.”

— Governors Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, and Jay Inslee pen a must-read op-ed about the progress their states have made in the year since Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

 

“Mayors don’t look at climate change as an ideological issue. They look at it as an economic and public health issue. Regardless of the decisions of the Trump administration, mayors are determined to continue making progress.”

— Michael Bloomberg on the anniversary of Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement while launching the American Cities Climate Challenge

 

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

ShareBlue: Trump wants taxpayers to bail out his polluter donors

Quartz: What it will take to get Republicans and Democrats to agree on global warming

Politico: Oversight keeps up Pruitt probe

 

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

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

 

Wisconsin Gazette (WI): Senate District 1 Ads: Manure is ‘In Our Shower and Our Faucets’

Public News Service (NM): Advocates for Electric School Buses Hold Asthma Fair

My Central Jersey (NJ): LETTER: State doesn’t need the PennEast pipeline

Reno Gazette Journal (NV): Nevada electric utility seeks to partner with 6 solar firms

 

 

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ONE YEAR SINCE PARIS – One year ago today, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. His announcement is not only dangerous for our planet, our future, and our health, it has hurt us diplomatically and economically. Despite this horrible decision, people in every state, in every corner of the world, governors, mayors, and leaders are filling this leadership vacuum. We are committed to working with those who will fight to move toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

 

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: A recent study by Stanford researchers found that the United States economy could have saved $6 trillion by sticking with the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. This rebukes Trump’s argument  that other countries would benefit at our expense. It turns out (like we’ve said all along) that the transition to clean  energy is a win-win.

 

CHEERS TO THE GOVERNORS: Governors Jerry Brown (CA), Andrew Cuomo (NY), and Jay Inslee (WA) came together to write an op-ed for USA Today about how they are fighting climate change and the positive effects it has had on their states. While highlighting their accomplishments and progress, they also call on Washington to get back on board with the public, their states, and nations around the world that are moving forward and fighting climate change.

 

CHEERS TO THE MAYORS: On Friday, Michael Bloomberg announced the American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million investment project that will help 20 mayors throughout the U.S. deliver on the Paris goals. This is an awesome announcement that will spur progress across the country despite Trump’s continued inaction.

 

PRUITT’S REPUBLICAN BACKLASH: Arnold Schwarzenegger — former governor of California and famed movie star — continues to speak out against Pruitt. This week, the Terminator took aim at Pruitt  for his constant lying and his close ties to industry. Bravo to Schwarzenegger for stepping up and speaking out against one of the worst crooks in the Trump administration — as well as for his hard work fighting against fossil fuel companies during his time after being governor.

 

SCHWARZENEGGER ON PRUITT: “I pay no attention to what he says. He cannot be taken seriously. He’s the worst Environmental secretary that we have ever had.”

 

READ OF THE WEEK: Quartz released a good read this week on the schism over climate change — the article highlights the ways voting records, like those tallied in LCV’s annual scorecard, reveal a troubling trend of polarization. The piece ultimately argues that young voters — often more climate-conscious than their parents — will be the driving force that bring Republicans back to reality on climate change.

 

WHAT WE’RE WAITING FOR: The EPA’s Inspector General expects to finish his probe into Pruitt’s travel by September 30. Pruitt cost taxpayers upwards of $3.5 million in his first year in office, a ridiculous waste of money that could have been put to much better use keeping communities safe and healthy and fighting the dangers of climate change.

 

BAD, REALLY BAD: On Thursday, the New York Times reported that EPA’s upcoming rollback on the Clean Car Standards will challenge states’ authority under the Clean Air Act. Better fuel economy standards should be a no-brainer — they save consumers money at the pump while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the EPA is yet again putting profits for Big Oil ahead of our health.

 

SCIENCE RULES: The EPA’s internal and independent Science Advisory Board recommended a review of the science underpinning Pruitt’s decision to roll back the Clean Car Standards. Kudos to the Science Advisory Board for speaking out — but will Trump and Pruitt listen?

 

GRAM IT: To illustrate how gutting the Clean Car Standards will put oil company profits ahead of working families, we launched new ads on Instagram today. Check them out and fight back!

 

VICTIMS EXCLUDED FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS SUMMIT: Remember how the EPA shut a reporter out of its summit on toxic chemicals last week? It turns out that another key group wasn’t invited: the victims. Those whose water supply was made unsafe due to chemical leaks were suspiciously excluded, with only two representatives of advocacy organizations allowed to attend. The victims in these cases deserve to have their voices heard as the agency decides how to protect the public from dangerous PFAS chemicals.

 

SPEAKING OF DANGEROUS CHEMICALS, ASBESTOS: On Friday, the EPA released a batch of long-awaited documents required under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act, including the “problem formulation” for asbestos. Though it sounds wonky, this document will guide the scope of EPA’s regulation, and shockingly, though unfortunately not unsurprisingly, Pruitt and co. have decided not to regulate legacy uses of asbestos, i.e. a huge source of deadly asbestos exposure. Is it Trump’s conspiracy theory history on asbestos that’s directing this decision or the fact that the EPA’s chemicals office is headed by a former chemical industry bigwig? We can’t think of another reason why EPA would make the egregious decision to endanger our public health by ignoring such a serious exposure to a killer chemical with an ever-rising body count.

 

CALI SAYS NO: Pruitt and his corrupt EPA have been pushing to ease regulations on “gliders” — trucks with repurposed engines that are allowed to skirt fuel emissions regulations while releasing 400 times more pollution than regular trucks. Climate heroes in California fired back, banning the trucks from the state under penalty of a hefty fine. The measure passed 73-0, including the support of 25 Republicans in the chamber.

 

ZINKE REFUSES TO APOLOGIZE FOR RACIST REMARK: The Hill reported that on Monday, Ryan Zinke defended saying “Konichiwa” to Representative Colleen Hanabusa during a House hearing — which Zinke claims was appropriate because he has Japanese friends. Read his remarks and Hanabusa’s eloquent response:

 

ZINKE: On Breitbart Radio: “I grew up in a little logging, timber town, railroad town in Montana and a lot of my family lived through the years of the internment camps. I’ve long since had friends that were Japanese families that went through that.”

 

HANABUSA: In a statement: “Secretary Ryan Zinke continues to miss the point. This is racial stereotyping. And this is racial stereotyping that occurred while I questioned him about funding to preserve and protect Japanese internment sites in my capacity as a member of Congress. Does he greet other members of Congress in their ancestral language?”

 

CONSEQUENCES OF INACTION: Hurricane Maria — the intensity of which was almost certainly a result of climate change — demonstrated the stakes of refusing to act on climate change and ignoring our responsibility to mitigate its effects. With the death toll possibly nearing 5,000, we must demand that our government provide a better response to these massive climate events that will only grow more and more frequent — especially because they often disproportionately affect communities of color.

 

OUR TAKE: Courtesy of @LCVoters: “It’s clearer than ever that the response to Hurricane Maria was inadequate, and without adequate climate action, communities of color and low income communities will continue to be hit hardest by #climatechange.”

 

EMERGENCY BAIL OUT: As Bloomberg reported, Rick Perry and the Energy Department are planning on using an emergency authority to help bail out coal and nuclear power plants. Once again, the Trump administration is bending over backwards to prop up dying, dirty energy sources instead of building the clean energy economy our communities need and deserve.

 

WEIRD WEEKEND READS: Adam Frank in The Atlantic explores the “theoretical archaeology of exo-civilizations” — or, in other words, how alien societies would weather a changing climate and create sustainable societies. No idea what that means? Us either, until we read the piece. While a bit out of the box, spend your Saturday morning parsing out the puzzling questions of environments in the great beyond.

 

COMING UP:

 

TODAY  – One year anniversary of Donald Trump’s decision to recklessly withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement

NEXT WEEK – The House will take up an appropriations minibus that will include the Energy and Water spending bill as well as their version of the Water Resources Development Act.

JUNE 6 – LCV’s annual Lobby Day

SEPTEMBER 30 – Expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the nation’s best parks program

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