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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – AUGUST 25, 2023

Aug 25, 2023

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – AUGUST 25, 2023

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, Twitter, and Instagram.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“The reality is, 20 years from now a summer like this one will feel like a relatively mild summer.”

UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain on the impacts of climate change in driving global temperatures to record highs.

“[This is] the most extreme, the most divisive, the most chaotic slate of presidential candidates in history.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison in a press conference following the first GOP primary debate.

“Strong standards for ozone are critical for public health. EPA is stalling critical safeguards by restarting the process—delaying the protections for years. EPA’s mission is to ‘protect human health and the environment.’ This process does the opposite.”

Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) on the EPA’s initiation of a new review on the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).


HIGHLIGHTS IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IMPLEMENTATION:

IRA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE: While the official one year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act has passed, LCV state affiliates continued the celebration this week with events in Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and California.

Washington Conservation Action and Conservation Voters of South Carolina also published op-eds this week about the ways the IRA is benefiting communities in their states.

REPRESENTATIVE FRANKEL AND LCV ON GOVERNOR DESANTIS’ CLIMATE INACTION: On Thursday, Representative Lois Frankel (FL-22) was joined by LCV’s Vice President of Political Affairs Craig Auster to discuss Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to put his polluter allies over the health of Florida families and reject the federal clean energy funds made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

OUR TAKE:  LCV Vice President of Political Affairs Craig Auster said, “Governor DeSantis is yet again putting his extremist ideology and ambitions above the best interests of the people of this state. He has rejected federal funds to help families make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and just three weeks ago missed the deadline to have Florida apply for grants from the Biden-Harris administration’s Solar for All program which will help low-income residents install solar on their roofs or non-profits build community solar projects for renters to tap into. Once again, he is choosing the national media spotlight over the Floridians he was elected to serve.”

Read the full ICYMI here.

IRA SUPPORT FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE’S SMALL BUSINESSES: Congressman Chris Pappas, EDF Action, and LCV held a business roundtable on how support for small businesses under the Inflation Reduction Act is helping to accelerate the transition to clean energy in New Hampshire, a state where 99% of businesses are considered small businesses.

NH LCV TAKE: New Hampshire LCV’s State Director Rob Werner said, “The transition to a clean energy economy will provide jobs for our citizens, build resiliency for our communities, and protect our environment. Federal investments in clean energy support innovation and economic growth while lowering costs. Through his consistent advocacy for strong climate action, Congressman Pappas is leading the way to a more secure and prosperous future for New Hampshire and the nation.”


IN NATIONAL NEWS: 

BIDEN ADDRESSES MAUI WILDFIRE SURVIVORS: President Biden and the First Lady traveled to Hawai’i this week in the aftermath of the most devastating fire the U.S. has seen in the last century. The president surveyed the damage and spoke to survivors, and federal, state, and local officials regarding relief efforts.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We couldn’t agree more with President Biden that we must combat the climate crisis and environmental injustices from extreme weather and tragic fires like the one that claimed at least 114 lives here–particularly faced by Lahaina’s Native Hawaiians and historically excluded communities everywhere. So far, the administration has already deployed over 1,000 personnel, including from EPA and Army Corps of Engineers along with search and rescue teams. As the President said, ‘the country grieves with you, stands with you and will do everything possible to help you recover, rebuild, and respect cultural traditions when the rebuilding takes place.’ It’s heart-breaking that the deadly fires in Lahaina and Maui, fueled by drought and extreme weather, will impact the people of Hawai’i for generations. It’s critically important to continue to aid those impacted, stop special interests from exploiting this catastrophe, and help ensure all communities are prepared for worsening climate-crisis fueled disasters.”

EPA DELAYS OZONE ACTION: The EPA announced that it will end its reconsideration of a Trump administration ruling not to strengthen standards for ozone pollution (smog), and will instead launch the regularly-scheduled review process, which will delay ozone action by several years.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy and former EPA health scientist Matthew Davis said, “It is disappointing that EPA is delaying needed relief from ozone pollution for children, outdoor workers, older people, and other vulnerable groups, particularly in communities of color and communities of low wealth disproportionately affected by asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health effects from air pollution. The science is robust and clear enough to propose a stronger standard this year.

“As they embark on the regularly-scheduled review of these protections for public health and the environment, we urge the Biden-Harris administration to swiftly heed the recommendations of health experts and environmental justice advisors to establish a more protective ozone standard at 55-60 parts per billion by the timeline required by law – the end of 2025. And in the coming months, EPA has the opportunity to prioritize environmental justice by finalizing strong improvements of the daily and annual standards for deadly soot pollution.”

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Director Estefany Carrasco-Gonzalez said, “The EPA’s recent action to delay ozone pollution relief is extremely disappointing for our comunidades, children, elders, and overburdened communities, especially communities of color and communities with low wealth. This decision will have disastrous consequences for low-income communities of color, like my own, as we continue to bear the brunt of environmental injustices from climate change, air pollution, and other contaminants. We cannot ignore the impacts this will cause our comunidades. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to establish more protective ozone standards recommended by public health experts and environmental justice leaders, and for EPA to swiftly prioritize environmental justice and finalize strong improvements to standards for toxic soot pollution in the coming months. We must continue to fight for stronger standards to be implemented and fight back against attacks that further risk the wellbeing of our nation.”

THE FIRST REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATE: Eight Republican presidential hopefuls took to the stage in Milwaukee for the first debate of the 2024 primary race. The candidates, Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, Governor Doug Burgum,  former Governor Nikki Haley, former Governor Chris Christie, and former Governor Asa Hutchinson debated issues from government spending to abortion, Ukraine, and January 6th, to name a few.

LCV VICTORY FUND TAKE: Prior to the debate, LCV Victory Fund’s Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith issued a memo detailing what they expected the candidates would discuss, what they wouldn’t, and key points they expected each candidate to make to promote their own campaigns: “Ahead of the Republican Presidential Debate tonight, while the U.S. is still reeling from the tragic and deadly wildfires in Hawai’i, a virtually unprecedented tropical storm on the West Coast, the hottest July on record, flooding, and poor air quality from more wildfires, the difference between Joe Biden and the Republican field of challengers on climate change and the environment could not be more stark. President Biden and Vice President Harris have made climate change, environmental justice and protecting our democracy centerpieces of their work in the White House. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, and the Republican candidates who will be debating in Milwaukee, have collectively denied science, called climate change a “hoax,” intend to eliminate environmental safeguards putting the health and well-being of our communities at risk, and take every opportunity to pledge their loyalty to Big Oil.”

Read the full memo here.

TAKE 2: After the debate, where the candidates were given the chance to discuss climate change and largely ducked the question, LCV Victory Fund’s Pete Maysmith had this to say: “The candidates repeatedly ignored the reality that the Biden-Harris affordable clean energy plan is fueling an economic boom with 170,000 jobs created and 272 clean energy projects underway here at home. The Republican plan to “drill, frack, burn” will do nothing to lower costs or increase national security, but it will increase pollution, harm communities, and kill good, family-sustaining clean energy jobs that are the future for our country. The difference between the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket and the Republican field of challengers on climate change and the environment could not be more stark and the stakes could not be higher. ”


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CONCERNS OVER CARBON CAPTURE: Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo voiced concerns over a recently announced direct air capture hub that will be run by a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. Castillo is concerned that the project won’t trap carbon dioxide as intended. The community has not been able to view the project’s application, and the only remedy offered is to participate in a community benefits hearing.

CHISPA TX TAKE: Speaking to Bloomberg,  Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo said, “They have known that community groups have major concerns with all projects of this nature. We should be investing more in renewables.”

DUKE ENERGY PROPOSES DELAYED CARBON REDUCTION GOAL: Under state law, North Carolina is required to cut carbon emissions from the energy sector by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the state’s largest electricity provider, Duke Energy, recently proposed a plan that will not meet the 70% reduction target until 2035. The plan has been met with negative reactions from environmentalists and clean energy advocates.

NCLCV TAKE: North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Director of Governmental Relations  Dan Crawford said, “It’s clear from this new carbon plan filing that lowest cost and most reliable service for North Carolinians isn’t Duke Energy’s priority, but rather highest profit and best return for their shareholders, while providing more dirty energy. Duke proposes building more dirty fossil fuel gas plants and expensive, unproven nuclear plants − replacing coal ash with dirty gas and nuclear waste.”


NEW ON THE POWER SOURCE BLOG AND SOCIAL:

ON THE BLOG: In light of the increasingly frequent extreme heat events being seen around the world, LCV Government Affairs Fellow Lauren Heller provides a deeper look into a potential solution: urban greenspaces. This piece describes the urban heat island phenomenon, implications of extreme heat for environmental justice, and how urban greenspaces can help, as well as some examples of existing urban greenspace programs and ways to get involved.

ON OUR SOCIAL: The first Republican primary debate fueled LCV’s socials for the second half of the week. Prior to the debate, we reminded audiences how dangerous each of the GOP candidates are, with some help from Kirby, and joined other environmental organizations in responding to GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy’s inaccurate and ill-received (even by GOP hardliners) statement, “The climate change agenda is a hoax.” Former President Trump’s mugshot also graced LCV socials with a message on corporate accountability.

Beyond covering GOP antics, we used our platforms to promote National Poll Worker Recruitment Day (on Twitter/X and Instagram) and to show LCV (and Andrea from The Devil Wears Prada)’s support for the Revolution Wind offshore wind project in Rhode Island.


COMING UP:

AUGUST 26: 60th anniversary of the March on Washington event

SEPTEMBER 19: National Voter Registration Day

SEPTEMBER 30: Government funding expires