THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – NOVEMBER 8, 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.

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“ … last year, Democrats gained control of state governments or strengthened their legislative majorities in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Washington. Since then, all of those states have been able to pass new laws with emissions-reduction goals. You’re up, Virginia!”

— Grist’s Emily Pontecorvo in Wednesday’s edition of ‘The Beacon’

History will judge us for what we do today to help guarantee that future generations can enjoy the same livable planet that we have so clearly taken for granted.

— Leonardo DiCaprio via Instagram

“I have a child and I want him to have children. I want his children to have children. I want them to see the mountains I’ve seen.”

— Catherine Keener in Bazaar.com interview on why she joined the DC climate strikes

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Washington Post: The Energy 202: ‘Look at my record, child,’ Biden responds to environmental activist

MSN: 2020 Dems target inequality with green plans

Gizmodo: ‘We Won’: Saving the World Starts With Local Elections

Inside Climate: Voters Flip Virginia’s Legislature, Clearing Way for Climate and Clean Energy Policies

NY Times: One Thing You Can Do: Know Your Organic Food

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:

NPR (VA): Virginia Tips Blue As Democrats Flip General Assembly

Tucson.com (AZ): Regina Romero becomes first Latina to serve as Tucson’s mayor

Washington Post (VA): The Energy 202: Democratic surge puts climate change on agenda in Virginia

Concord Monitor (NH): Letter: We must press candidates on climate change

Boise State Public Radio (ID): Conservation Voters For Idaho Supported Winning Candidates Across Idaho

 

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NEXT WEEK: THE STATES ARE TAKING IT TO WASHINGTON: Dozens of members of the Conservation Voter Movement (LCV and our state affiliates) are coming to DC from all over the country (CO, FL, IL, MD, MA, MI, MN, NV, NJ, NM, NY, SC, VA, WA) on November 13 to lobby their congressional delegation on the need to provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), make progress on clean energy by supporting legislation to set us on a path to 100% clean energy, update and extend clean energy tax incentives, and provide grants for electric school buses. In addition, the Center For American Progress will be holding a panel discussion on November 14th with LCV and other environmental groups to discuss how the United States can build a 100% clean future. Panelists include Representatives Debbie Dingell, Joe Neguse and Paul Tonko as well as Nevada Conservation League Operations Director Barb Hartzell. Interested in all of the progress being made for clean energy at the state level while we have the most anti-environment president in the White House? Shoot me an email (arich@lcv.org) and let’s set up a meeting next week!

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: Check out this week’s roundup, StarTribune article “What do 2020 Democrats say about California fires? Not much” by Kathleen Ronayne and PBS NewsHour articleSouth Carolina city struggles as economy, climate collide” by Daniel Bush. This week’s roundup is focused on The Weather Channel’s primetime special on climate change, candidate reactions to Trump beginning the Paris withdrawal process, and more.

CLIMATE WINS: This week, the climate crisis was on the ballot in statewide and local elections held in several states. Pro-environment candidates had major wins in Virginia, Montana, Idaho, New Jersey, Arizona, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. At a time when state and local leaders are making historic clean energy progress, these are huge victories for the fight against climate change. LCV Victory Fund put out a post-election memo on the details and results of the Conservation Voter Movement’s efforts in key races across the country. **SPOILER ALERT: the champion for the third year in a row? Climate.

OUR TAKE: LCV’s President Gene Karpinski spoke on a post-election call with many of the major progressive groups who worked together to make history in Virginia including EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, the DLCC and more. He said, “We made our biggest historic investment in Virginia state leg. races ever to the tune of 2.77 million dollars, some of that was in the coordinated expenditures on the ground … as well as raising money from across the country to go directly to these candidates through our Give Green program that we do in conjunction with NextGen. The next step is now that we have a pro-conservation majority in both houses we actually need to win policies … now we need to make progress on clean energy and climate and democracy reforms as well.”

PARIS (DIS)ACCORD: Trump and his administration formally notified the UN of its plan to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement this week. Trump has endlessly mentioned his desire to leave the Paris accords but couldn’t officially begin the process until Monday. On the first day possible to formally leave the plan, the administration gave their required one-year notice, which means the U.S. will officially leave the agreement the day after the 2020 election. Although it will be up to whoever is president in 2020 to decide whether or not this withdrawal will hold up, other nations are already preparing for further efforts to cut more greenhouse gas emissions and help countries and communities on the frontlines of climate change.

NOT JUST LOCAL ON THE 8s: If the Weather Channel says climate change is a big deal in the 2020 presidential election, it’s a big deal. The network devoted an hour of their prime time lineup Thursday to the “2020 Race to Save the Planet,” a special featuring interviews with eight 2020 presidential candidates about how they’d handle the impacts of extreme weather, investments in clean energy and the transition for fossil fuel workers, lifting up communities most affected by pollution, and more. While it shouldn’t be groundbreaking, we were encouraged to see the widely watched cable network acknowledge that the science on climate change is settled from the outset.

SHOUT OUT TO: Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders for participating in the special event, discussing the specific solutions you’d put in place as president, and talking us through how you’d put the frontline communities impacted by the climate crisis and pollution at the center of any policymaking.

WATER THEY THINKING?: With the Trump administration, it’s hard to believe that they are thinking (or that they are thinking about anyone besides wealthy polluters), especially when the EPA has proposed to weaken two safeguards that protect our water from toxic coal ash and wastewater contamination. Trump’s EPA is proposing to allow coal plants to dump more pollutants like mercury, lead, and arsenic into waterways and give them more time to close and clean up their coal ash ponds, which can leak dangerous waste into our groundwater (🤮). 

GRAND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GRAND CANYON: LCV is running a new $10k digital ad campaign thanking ten members of congress and criticizing two for their votes last week on H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act. The ads started running in the members’ districts while they were home this week because we desperately need to permanently protect areas around the Grand Canyon from toxic uranium mining. Indigenous communities rely on these cherished lands and have a right to the protection of them. We appreciate members who stepped up and voted to protect the Grand Canyon, and to those who didn’t, it’s time to do better. Here’s an example of a thank-you ad for Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3) and here’s a critical ad for Rep. Ross Spano (FL-15).

🚨CLIMATE EMERGENCY🚨 — 11K SCIENTISTS SAY SO: A whopping 11,000 scientists from all over the world backed a new study that was published  this week in BioScience — the study details their concerns about climate change and calls it a “climate emergency.” The study offers six important solutions to combat the recent acceleration of climate change that we are seeing. With the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris Agreement, (see above ☝) our states and cities are stepping up to keep themselves on track to meet the emissions reduction commitments. These scientists let us know that there is still time to correct these problems if we act NOW. 

LATINA POWER: Congratulations to LCV’s Chispa Communications Director Pita Juarez and Chispa Arizona Advocacy Director Gloria Montano Green for winning the Empowering Latina Leaders in Arizona award (ELLA). This award highlights Pita’s superb skills as a dynamic storyteller, filmmaker, and communications director for Chispa and Gloria’s experience focused in government and community work.

NRDC TAKES ON DIRTY WATER! Former EPA Administrator and devoted Red Sox fan Gina McCarthy has assumed her new position as President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Gina was a champion for environmental rights while serving in the Obama administration, so we are excited for her new role in the environmental community.  

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “We are thrilled to have former EPA Administrator and lifelong environmental champion Gina McCarthy taking the helm of the Natural Resources Defense Council. McCarthy’s tireless leadership as EPA administrator under President Obama and her decades of public service at the state and federal level will be a huge asset to our movement. NRDC is an indispensable partner in the fight to combat the climate crisis and protect the health of our children and families. We look forward to working with Gina in her new role at NRDC.”

 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

VIRGINIA WINS BIG: Virginia LCV ran the largest and most sophisticated electoral program for legislative races in the organization’s history this cycle, and it paid off, big time — the state now has pro-conservation majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. The record $1.5 million investment was steered toward direct mail, digital and radio advertising, and grassroots organizing in 14 battleground districts, and also includes direct candidate contributions. An additional $1.27 million was raised through the GiveGreen program and went directly to pro-environment candidates in Virginia. A full summary of Virginia LCV PAC’s 2019 electoral efforts is available here.

CVM TAKE: Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Michael Town said, “Since our founding in 2000, Virginia LCV has had one mission: secure a “Conservation Majority” at the General Assembly. Tonight, we celebrate this achievement, and look forward to working with the incoming legislature in 2020 on the even bigger lift: passing strong policies that address climate change, get Virginia to 100 percent clean energy, and protect clean water and our environment for all Virginians.”

MICHIGAN’S GONE DIGITAL: Michigan LCV launched their very first digital scorecard! The scorecard helps to evaluate elected officials on their efforts to protect the state’s land, air and water. By tracking significant environmental actions made by officials, this accountability tool provides an analysis of each lawmaker and an overarching score. 

CVM TAKE: Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak said, “In the digital age when people increasingly rely on the internet and social media for information, we felt it necessary to improve our accountability suite to make it more accessible. The digital scorecard is an evolution of our legislative tracking tool and brings our accountability work to the 21st century. For the first time, votes in the Legislature and actions by the attorney general and governor will be scored and updated in near-real time. That will make this free website the most accessible and accurate environmental accountability tool available to Michigan voters.”

 

COMING UP:

November 9: Sen. Sanders’ Climate Summit with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

November 10: Iowa Presidential Town Hall with Tom Steyer

November 11: Iowa Presidential Town Hall with former Vice President Joe Biden

November 13: LCV’s Fall Lobby Day on Capitol Hill

November 14: CAP panel: “How to Build a 100 Percent Clean Future,” featuring Nevada Conservation Voters Operations Director Barb Hartzell  

November 20: Fifth Democratic Debate – Atlanta, GA

December 19: Sixth Democratic Debate – Los Angeles, CA

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