THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – SEPTEMBER 18, 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:

“Committing to fight against environmental injustice requires providing a healthy environment, equal opportunity and meaningful involvement in environmental decisions to all people, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, national origin, belief, or socio-economic condition. Climate policy can end the perpetuation of systemic inequalities.”

— Speakers of G7 member states in a joint declaration issued at the conclusion of this year’s annual meeting. 

“Not to get political, but I’d say two of the things I miss most from the Obama years are being able to breathe air outside and being able to breathe air inside.”

— Comedian and writer Zack Bornstein via Twitter

“If we give a climate arsonist another four years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America goes up in a blaze?”

— Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a speech calling for urgent action on climate

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

The Atlantic: For Republicans, the Fires Change Nothing
National Journal: Latino groups turn to climate politics as election enters final stretch
Esquire: ‘It’s Time to Ask What Your Country Can Do For You. Because It’s 1933, Not 1960.’
The Hill – Opinion: The world will breathe easier with Biden and Harris — literally
E&E News: Lawmakers decry Trump on climate, push wildfire prevention
Grist/Mother Jones: “No One Knows Where This Came From”—Trump Bans Offshore Drilling
Montana Public Radio: Campaign Beat: QAnon, Carbon Tax And Cooney On Drums

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:

LA Times (CA): Boiling Point: Gavin Newsom just promised ‘giant leaps forward’ on climate. Will he follow through?
Bay Journal (MD): Latinx ‘promotores’ lead the way for environmental action
City & State (NY): New report lays out state budget actions for climate change
NBC News THINK (CA): COVID-19 and the California fires have a connection. Here’s how to fight both.
Univision LA (CA): Decenas de miles de jóvenes de California podrán votar si avanza la Proposición 19

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COVER CLIMATE NOW (AND LATER!): We hope you are as excited as we are about next week’s #ClimatePolitics2020 coverage week launched by Cover Climate Now, and the kickoff on Monday with #YouthTakeoverDay. We hope your outlet is participating and encourage everyone to share and celebrate each other’s work to amplify the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis. If you are interested in adding to this coverage and are looking for voices, like first-time voters who are motivated by climate, please feel free to reach out and we can help connect you with great storytellers. 

SCIENCE KNOWS: On Monday, while climate change-fueled wildfires blazed across 12 western states with catastrophic consequence, President Trump fallaciously claimed that “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch…I don’t think science knows, actually.” Unfoundedly undermining the climate crisis and the lives it is upending is certainly on-brand for Trump, a fact that is made clear in LCV Victory Fund’s new video contrasting Trump’s hypocritical claim that he is “the great environmentalist” with the truth of his harmful anti-environmental record. Mr. Trump, if you don’t know, now you know

OUR TAKE: Upon releasing the new video, LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “This is what the climate crisis looks like. Donald Trump’s denial of science and refusal to listen to expert advice has put our families’ health and safety at extreme risk.The impacts of the four crises currently plaguing our nation —  systemic racism, the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression — are completely devastating for communities of color and there is only one candidate for president who will respond to all four with the urgency demanded: Joe Biden.”

CVM TAKE: California League of Conservation Voters CEO Mary Creasman said, “While California burns and is faced with the worst air quality in the world for over a week now, the president is spewing more lies about his environmental record and the climate crisis. But Californians know this crisis is real, we are feeling the tragic reality of government on all levels kicking the can down the road for years. We are paying for this inaction with our lives, our communities, our livelihoods, and our health. We are begging our fellow Americans across the country to vote for real leadership this November to give us a chance to protect all of our futures.”

TRUMP=CLIMATE ARSONIST: In stark contrast to Trump’s climate-denying response to the devastating wildfires in the West, Democratic Nominee Joe Biden addressed the country, making clear that, as multiple crises compound to harm our communities — COVID, racial and economic injustice and the climate crisis, all of which most acutely impact communities of color — he takes the climate crisis and the people it impacts seriously. Not only does Biden clearly see Trump for the “Climate Arsonist” he is, he sees the people Trump’s policies have harmed: “We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and the first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ashes and smoke pollute the air they breathe…The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single solitary one of us, but too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.”       

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld had this to say, “Kudos to Vice President Biden for his very presidential speech about the devastating wildfires, the climate crisis, and the need to act as a nation. It is unconscionable for the Trump administration to continue to downplay and worsen the climate crisis, especially as the West is on fire and drowning in smoke during a respiratory pandemic. This record-breaking wildfire season is directly related to hotter and drier temperatures from climate change. Joe Biden is the leader we need to take on one of the most challenging and consequential issues of our time — a leader who believes in science and listens to the experts. It is imperative we elect him and other climate justice champions who will take immediate and equitable action on the climate crisis. We have 50 days left to make it happen.”

LATINX HERITAGE MONTH: Tuesday marked the start of Latinx heritage month, and LCV’s Chispa is celebrating diverse Latinx culturas, the fight for clean air for communities, and will be promoting civic participation and getting out the vote! To kick off the festivities, read about Chispa Maryland Promotora Candida Garcia, who, four years ago became involved in environmental advocacy — helping create a community garden, campaigning for bans on plastic bags and straws, and advocating for electric school buses. As Candida says, “Environmentalism is about the health of the families and people that we love.”

VOTE LIKE A MADRE: A few weeks back, LCV’s Chispa and Latino Victory Fund launched the #votelikeamadre campaign, encouraging Latinx moms in battleground states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Nevada to vote for candidates who support action on climate change. We need bold action on climate change, and madres are leading, promising to elect officials who will fight the climate crisis and protect their childrens’ future. 

OUR TAKE: National Journal’s Brian Dabbs caught up with LCV Senior Vice President for Community and Civic Engagement and Chispa Foundre Jennifer Allen Aroz to talk about Latinx voters in the final stretch of the election: “We know that 1 out of 2 Latinos in the U.S. are living in counties that frequently violate pollution standards. So given all that, we know that we’ve got to show up and be clear and decisive in this election and in every election.”   

A HALF DOZEN ADDITIONS: LCV Victory Fund named six more candidates to our signature Dirty Dozen, which lists some of the worst anti-environmental candidates running for office this year. Senator Joni Ernst, David Richter (NJ-03), State Delegate Nick Freitas (VA-07), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), former Representative Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Beth Van Duyne (TX-24) have now joined the dirty ranks of our previously announced members, which includes President Donald Trump, the dirtiest of all time. With health, climate, economic and racial equity crises on the ballot in November, we need leaders who will build back better — and it’s clear, this dozen are not fit for the charge.     

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “In 2018 voters chose environmental champions across the country. We’ve seen the results of those wins with the most pro-environmental House in over a decade. In 2020, corporate polluters are pushing back like never before because they know with environmental champions leading the White House, Senate, and House we can finally start to build the clean energy economy this country needs.”         

ALL THE HEARINGS: In a busy week of congressional hearings, Senate Environment and Public Works Democrats heard testimony on Trump’s weakening of the Clean Water Act. Spoiler alert: rolling back clean water protections disproportionately harms low income communities and communities of color — and this Dirty Water Rule is no different. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change considered opportunities for an equitable, low-carbon recovery. And the House Natural Resources Committee has held a series of environmental justice focused hearings across the country, including a hearing examining diversity, equity and inclusion at the Department of the Interior. Chairman Grijalva told a personal story — when he first entered Congress and asked to sit on the Natural Resources Committee, he was told that it was not for him and he should really join a committee that affects his people. And boy are we glad he didn’t listen to that racist comment and has become the stalwart conservation and environmental justice champion we know him as. 

OLDIE BUT GOODIE: In this in-depth interview at Esquire by Charles Pierce, Senator Ed Markey was asked when he was first “clued into” climate change as an issue, he references “an oil shale bill. We had a vote on that in 1980, and I voted no. I think there were only, there weren’t that many of us that voted no on this plan, it was on energy independence. But the League of Conservation Voters said that it could lead to climate change. That was the vote back then in 1980, the League of Conservation Voters were framing it as a climate-change vote.”

OUR TAKE: TRUE! Back in 1980 we scored a vote on synthetic fuels from coal and oil shale and noted, “Synfuels also put more carbon dioxide into the global atmosphere than comparable amounts of coal or oil, and could cause changes in the earth’s climate.” Markey was the only member of the Massachusetts delegation to vote against it at the time. 

THE REAL CORY GARDNER: LCV Victory Fund released a new digital ad opposing Colorado Senator Cory Gardner’s re-election campaign because of Gardner’s history of voting against the environment and putting Coloradans’ health at risk this week. Gardner was named to LCV Victory Fund’s 2020 Dirty Dozen list of some of the worst environmental candidates earlier this year.

OUR TAKE: LCV’s SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith and longtime Coloradan said, “The real Cory Gardner has an 11% lifetime LCV score. No matter what Gardner says and does to earn last minute votes, his dangerous anti-environmental record shows he will ultimately side with corporate polluters over our families’ well-being. Cory Gardner is putting the health and safety of Colorado communities, especially communities of color, at extreme risk.”

CVM TAKE: Conservation Colorado’s Executive Director Kelli Nordini added, “Cory Gardner is all hat and no cattle. Given that Gardner is consistently out of step with the values of Colorado voters, it makes sense that he and his special interest allies in DC are trying so hard to distract from his disastrous record.”

THE PRICE SC-01 WOULD PAY: LCV Victory Fund and House Majority PAC launched a new $360,000 TV ad today in opposition to Nancy Mace’s campaign against the Lowcountry’s pro-environment Congressman Joe Cunningham. This is LCV Victory Fund’s second ad buy in SC-01 — the group is already up on the air in the Charleston and Savannah markets with “Toxic”.

OUR TAKE: LCV National Campaigns Director Emily Crerand said, “Nancy Mace’s cozy relationships with corporate polluters are putting the health and safety of South Carolina communities, especially communities of color, at extreme risk. We need to keep Rep. Cunningham in Washington, fighting for clean air, clean water, and to ban drilling off of South Carolina’s coast.”

HOUSE MAJORITY PAC TAKE: Abby Curran Horrell, executive director of LCV Victory Fund’s partner on the ad, House Majority PAC, added, “Nancy Mace took  $25,000 in campaign donations from corporate polluters and is willing to sell out the Lowcountry’s priceless natural resources. The Lowcountry deserves a Member of Congress who will stand up for South Carolina, fight for clean drinking water and protect the state’s natural resources. South Carolinians know that Nancy Mace isn’t up to the job.”

#VOTEREADY: The communities that are most affected by climate change, pollution and environmental injustice are the same communities that our country has traditionally left out of the democratic process. Next Tuesday, September 22, is National Voter Registration Day, and LCV Education Fund’s Democracy For All has a whole week of planned actions, because this election is one of the most important of our lifetime. Check out their website to see each day theme, as well as graphics to get engaged via social media. 

TALKING WITH BIPOC VOTERS:  Amid COVID-19, we need changes to our election process, including ramping up voting by mail. LCV ran a $6.5M nonpartisan vote-by-mail generation and education program that engages with voters of color and young voters in order to help make sure every voice is heard in this critical election. We spoke to numerous individuals about voting by mail and educated them on the process of mail in ballots, including Shavon, Dolores, and Michael — all BIPOC identifying voters in different parts of the country. All three will be voting like their lives depend on it — because they do. No one should have to wait in crowded lines amidst a pandemic, and choose between their life and their right to vote. Read more about why Shavon, Dolores, and Michael believe voting by mail is important.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

FIRES SHIFTING POLITICS (CA): California’s 1st Legislative District located in the central valley is home to suburban, urban, rural areas, diverse demographics, and is deeply affected by this year’s wildfires. It’s a swing district that often highlights the changes the country is going through. This year’s big election question; will climate disasters affect the political outcome? This race might have the answer.

CAN GOVERNOR’S CLIMATE TALK LEAD TO ACTION (CA): In response to the devastating fires in his state, California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to accelerate efforts to combat climate change. But local advocates, including California LCV, have called out a number of opportunities the Governor has passed up that could have already increased the state’s climate efforts. Will climate disasters lead to bolder action? 

BUDGET TWEAK COULD MEAN CLIMATE ACTION (NY): As states across the country face increased revenue gaps to support essential services, environmental protection and public health,a new report from the Citizens Budget Commission and the New York League of Conservation Voters highlights some of their state’s spending and tax exemptions that could be tweaked to help New York reach its ambitious climate goals. New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act last year, one of the nation’s most ambitious climate action plans. 

STATE AND CITY ACTION REDUCED POLLUTION (ACROSS THE COUNTRY): Despite unprecedented rollbacks and attacks on any climate action from the Federal government, states and cities has stepped up to fill the leadership gap. America’s Climate Pledge just released a report that highlighted that as a result of state and local action, 1 in 3 Americans now live in a place committed to 100% clean energy. The report’s detailed analysis finds  that continued aggressive leadership by states, cities and businesses could decrease carbon pollution 37% by 2030 and strong federal action starting in 2021 would lower emissions even further to 49% in that timeframe.  

COMING UP:

September 15 – October 15: Latinx Heritage Month
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
September 22: National Voter Registration Day
September 30: Government funding expires
October 12: U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day
October 18: 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act
November 3: Election Day

 

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