THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – September 20, 2019

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

“Activism works, See you on the street!”

— Greta Thunberg during a Climate Change protest at the George Washington University

 

“@realDonaldTrump, your toxic tweets are insufferable, but your pillaging of our clean air is criminal.”

— Former California Governor Jerry Brown responding to Trump revoking California’s Federal Waiver on auto emissions via Twitter. 

 

“Did you guys know it was climate week?!?”

— Miranda Green, reporter at The Hill, channeling the sentiment of deluged inbox 

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

Crooked Media: Climate action is not controversial — the data proves it

Seacoast Online: Climate change leaps to national attention

Boston Magazine: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Endorsed Ed Markey 

E&E News: Greens accelerate push for full LWCF funding 

 

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:

 

Jefferson Public Radio (CA): Kamala Harris Claims She ‘Took On Big Oil’ As California AG. How Far Did She Go?

Lehigh Valley Live (NJ): Candidate takes an early seat on Phillipsburg council, filling in after a resignation

 

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What Do We Want? CLIMATE ACTION! When Do We Want It? NOW!: Greta Thunberg, a courageous 16 year old environmental activist from Sweden, has gained the love of millions in her fight for climate change, and she brought her activism to DC this week. Before leading a Global Youth Climate Strike today, Thunberg testified before two House committees, where she urged Congress to “unite behind science.” Today’s strike was organized for youth all over the world to walkout during classes or work to show solidarity for the climate change initiative. LCV staff and volunteers, along with our state affiliates, participated in strike events across the country. These kids are gonna make it alright. 

 

OUT HERE MAKIN’ NEWS: Released first through an op-ed on Crooked Media, LCV and Data for Progress released a new nationwide test of local support for 18 different policy planks under consideration in the Green New Deal. Allies including Indivisible and Sierra Club are partnering in the release of the data.This is the most sweeping test of support for the key items in the Green New Deal that has been conducted. The data reveals that whatever corner of the county you’re in, the public supports many of the major elements of the Green New Deal – including clean air and water, lead removal, upgrading buildings, land conservation and much more. 

OUR TAKE: In the op-ed in Crooked Media, LCV VP of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo and Data for Progress Co-founder Sean McElwee point out that “Current and aspiring elected officials will learn they would do well to follow through on climate actions that voters across the country want, and that doing so will provide them a competitive advantage in elections.”

YOUR TAKE: David Wallace-Wells, Deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine and author of The Uninhabitable Earth, in a thread on the findings tweeted: “The polling shows that enviro fights are not just winnable, they are begging to be fought.” 

 

HOYA SAXA? THE CLIMATE FORUM: Over the course of two days, more than half of the Democratic presidential candidates participated in this year’s second presidential climate forum, this time hosted by Georgetown University and moderated by MSNBC. Once again, we’re pleased to note that every leading candidate has put forth a plan to act on climate.  

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld responded to the forum on Friday, saying: “There is no overstating the importance of the historic climate strike led by Greta Thunberg and young people around the world. In this pivotal week for youth-led climate action, it is more clear than ever that elected officials across the globe must listen to the young people whose lives are being defined by this crisis. Toward that end, kudos to MSNBC, moderators Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi, Georgetown University, New York Magazine, and Our Daily Planet for getting more than half of the 2020 Democratic presidential field to go deep on climate action in an unprecedented 12 hour, two day climate forum. Voters are hungry for more than rehearsed talking points, and candidates were wise to take advantage of this opportunity to have serious, substantive conversations about their climate plans.”

 

ROADS? WHERE WE’RE GOING, WE DON’T NEED ROADS: As part of its multi-stage effort to roll back federal clean car standards, Trump tweeted his intention to rescind California’s ability to set its own strong standards. This comes despite not only the state’s desire to protect the health and safety of its people, but also despite opposition from the auto industry itself. The administration is taking us back, not to the future.

OUR TAKE 1: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, “The automakers do not support the Trump rollback of the cleaner cars standard and the chaotic announcement via tweet certainly does not provide the industry with the market certainty it needs to continue to produce cleaner safer cars in future model years.” 

OUR TAKE 2: LCV Clean Energy Program Director Sara Jordan had this to say: “For four decades, states have had the right under the Clean Air Act to protect their residents from dangerous air pollution. The Trump Administration’s latest rollback is attacking a basic public health protection that has been successfully cleaning up the air we breathe since it was passed into law.”   

 

FUND THE FUND FOREVER AND EVER: This week LCV announced a $1 million campaign calling on Congress to permanently fund our country’s best parks program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Last year, Congress permanently reauthorized LWCF, and the next step in ensuring this essential program can consistently preserve our land and address our history of inequitable access to green spaces is to secure full funding forever. In a time when its been made abundantly clear that conservation is a critical part of fighting climate change, permanent funding for LWCF is an important and popular action that should be a no-brainer for Congress.

A LITTLE SELF REFLECTION — OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “LCV is doubling down on our efforts to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund because it is critical that we preserve more natural places and share their benefits equitably with all communities. Congress has the tools and the power to stop diverting money and permanently fund LWCF right now — let’s get it done.” 

 

MISS MANNERS WOULD APPROVE, ThankYouVeryMuch: This week, LCV launched ads thanking members of Congress for their votes to preserve the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and ban offshore drilling. These thank yous will run in the home districts of 22 members of Congress, and praise members for voting in support of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and coastal economies.  

WE’RE SO META — OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld had this to say: “LCV is thrilled to see the pro-environment House of Representatives passing bipartisan legislation protecting the Arctic Refuge and coastal communities from harmful drilling…Coastal communities are already on the frontlines of the climate crisis and they cannot withstand another devastating oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon … It’s time for Leader McConnell to stop running the Senate as a legislative graveyard and allow votes on all three bills.”

 

🔥🔥🔥 HOT WATER: This week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing to investigate the administration’s priorities under the Clean Water Act. The assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Water, Dave Ross, was called before the committee, where he was forced to provide answers for attempting to shred the safeguards for our  water.As Chairman Peter Defazio passionately pointed out,, “So you’re proposing to undo protections…And you don’t know what the impact of what you’re proposing would be?!” SMH. 

 

 USMCA, THERE’S SOMETHING MISSING HERE (HINT- IT’S CLIMATE STANDARDS): Climate change ought to be prioritized in any renegotiated  NAFTA agreement — and 110 members of Congress, led by Representative Katie Hill (CA-25), agree. In fact, this group of lawmakers sent a letter to Trump urging that the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) include binding climate standards and a commitment to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement. As the letter noted, “The Paris Agreement represents the type of global cooperation that our trade deals should aspire to, and has the support of 185 countries, including our NAFTA trading partners.” 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: 

 

250 DAYS OF CLEAN ENERGY (EVERYWHERE): We’ve said it before and we’ll just keep saying it (call it our refrain, our chorus, our hook — whichever suits you), state and local governments are leading historic clean energy progress, in stark contrast with the polluter-minded White House. So, this week, LCV released an updated new report, detailing 250 days of clean energy victories secured by governors, legislatures, city governments and even utilities. What’s more? Many of these wins have taken place with significant bipartisan support in “red” states like South Carolina and Idaho, and in historically fossil fuel extraction states like New Mexico and Colorado. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “People in this country are demanding climate action and these sweeping, bipartisan victories are proof that getting the right people in office, developing smart policies, and strong organizing on the ground can defeat the influence of the fossil fuel industry.”   

CLIMATE GETS LOCAL (AZ): Tucson Mayoral Candidate Regina Romero, who Chispa Arizona PAC has endorsed, wrote an op-ed that ran in the Tucson Sentinel about the important role local government plays in tackling climate change. Romero lays out nearly a dozen proposals for ways the city of Tucson can act to fight climate change. And as she puts it, “Many of these proposals will require a simple change in city policy. For example, in addition to requiring efficient windows and air conditioning, new developments should also contribute to public green space, tree canopy, and other sustainability efforts.  

WE KEEP SCORE (NV): On Wednesday, the Nevada Conservation League (NCL) released its 2019 Scorecard, which evaluates the governor and legislature on their environmental work during the 80th Legislative Session. Spoiler alert: Governor Sisolak received an A overall, and 41 of 63 legislators received perfect 100% scores. Additionally, NCL held their annual awards ceremony, “Home Means Nevada,” where they honored A-student Governor Sisolak as the conservation champion of the year.

CVM TAKE: NCL Executive Director Andy Maggi said, “The 2019 session was a banner one for Nevada’s environment, and it all started by electing the right leaders to go to Carson City…As we saw this year, when we have leaders who understand and share our conservation priorities, we can accomplish great things for our people, environment and economy.” 

 

CVM Staffer, Lee Clark, Makes History! (NJ): This week, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Watershed Outreach Manager Lee Clark was appointed to serve as the Phillipsburg Housing Authority commissioner, a post that promotes affordable housing, economic opportunity and a healthy environment for low income residents. As Clark posted on Facebook this is a historic moment: “It is truly an honor and humbling to become Phillipsburg’s first African American representative in its 158 years.” 

CVM TAKE: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “I have had the honor of working with Lee for several years now and continue to be impressed with his dedication to the health and wellbeing of New Jersey citizens.” 

 

COMING UP: 

September 24: House Natural Resources Committee hearing on oil and gas reform bills

September 25: IPCC report on oceans 

September 28: National Public Lands Day

October 2: EPA coal ash rollback hearing in DC

October 15: Fourth Democractic Debate 

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