This July, humans were confronted by a barrage of worsening climate disasters that offer a stark reminder of why our work combatting the climate crisis is so urgent.
On July 4th, the planet saw its hottest day ever recorded, breaking the record set the previous day. By mid-month, one out of every three Americans had faced extreme heat warnings — including at least 12 people in the Phoenix area who died from heat-related causes. New temperature records have been set worldwide, including in China (126 F), Death Valley (128 F), and in the Middle East, where the heat index reached 152 F, nearly the limit for human survival.
Meanwhile, torrential rains in Mississippi, New York, Vermont, and elsewhere triggered 1,000-year floods and ravished towns, farmland, and homes. Florida’s coastal waters are so warm that normal weather-map color scales can no longer capture their severity, and hurricane forecasters have upped their storm predictions for this year. People in cities and towns across the country are being inundated with eye-burning and lung-damaging smoke from wildfires sparked in drought-stricken areas of Canada.
All of these disasters are attributable to the burning of fossil fuels warming our planet and underscore the life-and-death stakes of the worsening climate emergency. LCV continues to push for clean energy solutions, environmental justice, and bold climate policies that will curb planet-warming emissions at the speed that science demands. Please read about our work in this month’s LCV Top 5:
Electing leaders who will effectively and equitably confront the climate crisis is critical. Look no further than the Biden-Harris administration for proof as they roll out investments from the affordable clean energy plan passed last year.
As part of the administration’s Investing in America Agenda, Vice President Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently announced $20 billion in grants that will launch tens of thousands of clean energy and energy efficiency projects in communities across the country — providing good jobs along with affordable, clean energy nationwide and ensuring that no community is left out of the clean energy transition.
The resulting public-private investments leveraged from this $20B in seed funding will enable individuals, families, nonprofits, governments, small businesses, and others to deploy a range of clean energy technologies and projects in their homes, businesses, and communities.
At least 40 percent of funds will be put to use in low-income and disadvantaged communities, including communities of color, rural communities, Tribal communities, communities with environmental justice concerns, and persistent-poverty counties.
These investments are the types of equitable solutions LCV advocates for and continues to advance with the support of our members, activists, and donors. Read LCV’s response to the grant announcement. Learn more about the grants from the EPA.
While the Biden-Harris administration, congressional climate champions, and state and local governments are taking bold action to address the climate crisis, far-right House Republicans continue to display willful ignorance and propose legislation that undermines clean energy solutions. For example, House Republicans recently introduced the Interior Appropriations bill, which includes provisions that would:
In addition, the narrow House majority is once again targeting popular elements of the affordable clean energy plan enacted last year, proposing $9 billion in cuts and reneging on their previous spending deal agreement. Read LCV’s response to the House Republicans’ bill.
As always, LCV’s expert policy and lobbying team is keeping a close eye on proposed anti-environment, anti-democracy legislation and working to combat it. Our strategies include holding elected officials accountable for anti-environment votes as well as gaining media coverage to shine a light on developments and keep constituents informed, as seen in this recent Guardian article featuring LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn.
LCV’s nationwide Clean Energy for All (CEFA) campaign is led by our 30+ state affiliates and is focused on grassroots work in support of clean energy solutions. In New York, our state affiliates, NYLCV and NYLCV Education Fund, played an integral role in securing climate progress in the Empire State, including supporting the nation’s first commercial, utility-scale offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind. A few weeks ago, the project made history as the first wind turbine foundation was secured to the ocean floor, putting South Fork Wind on track for completion this year. NYLCV and NYLCV Education Fund were active in every stage of the years-long, multi-step approval process, participating in all comment periods and public hearings and working to build and mobilize support for offshore wind by educating and engaging their members and the public.
The South Fork project will produce enough electricity to power 70,000 homes and is part of New York’s ambitious clean energy plans. The state’s offshore wind portfolio — the largest in the U.S. — includes five projects that will power more than 2.4 million homes, create more than 6,800 jobs, and are expected to bring an estimated economic benefit of $12.1 billion to the state. New York ironworkers, pile drivers, divers, operating engineers, electricians, laborers, and other union members are contributing to the offshore work.
NYLCV President Julie Tighe said, “It is thrilling to witness plans turning into action as the South Fork Wind Project lays its first steel in the water, marking an exciting milestone on New York’s path to greening the grid.” Read more about New York’s offshore wind progress.
Earlier this month, LCV and Chispa joined Latinx communities nationwide to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Latino Conservation Week, focused on uplifting the integral connection of Latinx comunidades and Madre Tierra (Mother Earth) to promote equitable access to healthy outdoor spaces for all.
Chispa affiliates in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, and Texas planned and participated in events that promoted environmental stewardship, uplifted conservation efforts, and built connections across Latinx communities.
To highlight critical climate challenges, LCV and Chispa also hosted a Twitter Q&A session with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where they discussed:
Chispa is Spanish for “spark” and an apt name for LCV’s program that rallies grassroots support in Latinx communities and communities of color to create healthier environments. By strengthening local voices and boosting participation in governance and democracy, Chispa programs across the country shape the environmental decisions and policies that directly affect people and their futures. Learn more about Chispa’s involvement in Latino Conservation Week and read the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Q&A transcript.
Related: Chispa Texas statement on Governor Abbott’s inhumane border actions. Chispa Nevada condemns Governor Lombardo’s decision to leave U.S. Climate Alliance. Chispa response to House Republican funding bills targeting Latino communities.
Many constituents who understand the urgency of climate action are choosing to make a difference by helping to support climate champions using GiveGreen, the nation’s largest single-issue online fundraising platform for progressive candidates. This month, GiveGreen hit a huge milestone, breaking records by raising more than $10 million so far this cycle to support pro-climate candidates running for federal and state office.
These record-breaking early investments made nearly a year and a half before Election Day illustrate voters’ enthusiasm for electing and protecting leaders who will continue to build on historic climate and clean energy progress, including President Biden, Vice President Harris, members of Congress, and state-level elected officials.
Pro-climate donors made a critical difference in the 2022 midterm elections, helping climate champions win key U.S. Senate, House, gubernatorial, and other down ballot races — resulting in historic action toward mitigating the climate crisis. With the help of GiveGreen, donors are making it clear that they want to continue this momentum.
A joint project of LCV Victory Fund and NRDC Action Votes, GiveGreen provides impactful and convenient ways to support candidates who will take meaningful action to address the climate crisis and invest in environmental justice. Read more about GiveGreen and its recent milestone.
The Best Thing You Can Do Right Now
To have a sustainable climate, voters must be able to freely and fairly choose representatives who prioritize environmental health and safety. Yet, more than 300 restrictive voting bills have been pre-filed or introduced in 45 states so far this year. Help protect voting rights and put an end to anti-voter legislation by telling Congress to pass the recently reintroduced Freedom to Vote Act today.Email Your Senator