“We are in an emergency headed for a disaster…Climate change isn’t lurking around the corner ready to pounce. It’s already upon us, raining down blows on billions of people.”
— Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, during an IPCC Press Conference on Monday.
“Energy is a key weapon within this fight, and if there were far less dependency on gas there would be a different set of plays.”
— John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate change, during an interview on Russia’s weaponization of energy in its war on Ukraine.
“We need to hear more about our transition to clean energy beyond just weatherizing our windows, which is important, and EVs, but we really need to hear more about mass transit, trains, high-speed rail and renewable energy,”
— Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on MSNBC and quoted by E&E.
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCORECARD: LCV released its 2021 National Environmental Scorecard on Wednesday at a virtual press conference with Senator Alex Padilla (CA), Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), and Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03). The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress since 1970. See the full scorecard HERE, in Spanish HERE, and online in either language at scorecard.lcv.org, and see what people are saying about the scorecard in the Washington Post, CQ, Greenwire, and Bloomberg Law.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “While 2021 was an incredibly difficult year for our democracy and our climate, it was a sea change from the Trump presidency. Our pro-environment, pro-democracy trifecta made strides toward an equitable clean energy future in 2021. We see the last year as the foundation for accomplishing the transformational change we need in 2022. The Biden-Harris administration took bold steps towards tackling the interwoven climate and racial justice crises, the House passed the Build Back Better Act and democracy reforms, and now it’s up to the Senate to pass the transformational investments needed to combat the climate crisis and protect our democracy.” Read the full press release HERE.
STATE OF THE UNION: On Tuesday, President Biden delivered the State of the Union address, in which he emphasized the importance of fighting for climate justice and democracy.
PRESIDENTIAL TAKE: President Biden during the 2022 State of the Union Address, “We’ll create good jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing roads, airports, ports, and waterways all across America. And we’ll do it all to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.”
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “As we heard from President Biden tonight, we can strengthen the state of our union by making transformative investments in clean energy, climate, justice and jobs at home in the United States. We couldn’t agree more with the president that Congress needs to meet the moment on climate by enacting the House-passed $555 billion investments in climate, clean energy and environmental justice into law. These investments will save families $500 a year on energy bills, provide greater economic stability, and protect our national and climate security. We must break our dependence on dirty, dangerous and unreliable fossil fuels.
“Equally important is President Biden’s commitment to rallying the nation and world to protect democracy. We condemn Vladimir Putin’s unlawful, unprovoked assault on Ukrainians trying to live in peace as a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government. Whether abroad or here at home, we cannot have a just, equitable society without a functioning democracy. LCV is fully committed to building a stronger democracy in the United States that can serve as a model for the world.”
WEST VIRGINIA V. EPA: On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the West Virginia v. EPA case, the most significant climate action case to come before the Supreme Court in years. This case is fundamentally about whether our government has the tools it needs to protect our families and communities from the rising costs and mounting dangers of climate change, and whether the Supreme Court will honor its own precedents affirming those tools.
OUR TAKE: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, “It is concerning that the Supreme Court is even considering a case that threatens to undermine the fight against climate change and EPA’s ability to require polluters to reduce dangerous emissions that threaten public health, public safety, workers’ rights and communities. Our nation’s highest court should follow the law and the science. The Supreme Court has already upheld EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court must interpret the law as Congress actually wrote it and recognize EPA’s authority to ensure strong protections in the most cost effective manner. As the latest IPCC report released this morning indicated, we cannot continue to delay tackling the climate crisis. We must find solutions for a more equitable and just clean energy future.” To view the statement, click HERE.
IPCC REPORT: On Monday, the IPCC Working Group II released a report highlighting the urgency of climate action, the impacts of climate change we are already seeing and those to come, and the disparities of those impacts domestically and internationally. The report has been dubbed “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “The latest report from the IPCC makes clearer than ever that the time for action on climate and environmental justice is now. More than any prior iteration, this report highlights the severe and costly impacts that climate change is having and will increasingly have on our ecosystems, water and food systems, industry, infrastructure, security, and overall health and well-being. It also reaffirms the unjust and well-documented reality that the worst impacts of this crisis are already and will continue to be borne by the least developed countries and low-income communities and communities of color around the world who have contributed the least to climate change but are nonetheless most vulnerable to its most devastating effects.
“The imperative is clear. Combating this crisis will require transformative action in the next decade and the United States has a responsibility to lead in the global fight against climate change, and to ensure that all our efforts are centering environmental and racial justice at home and abroad. Internationally, we must honor our commitments in climate finance. At home, the U.S. Senate must begin by quickly passing a comprehensive revised reconciliation package that includes the agreed-upon $555 billion investments in climate, jobs, justice, and our clean energy future. Not only will these investments put us on a path to meet our climate goals and advance environmental justice, they will also create good-paying union jobs, help lower costs for working families, and improve the health and resiliency of our communities.”
GOOD NEWS FOR THE ARCTIC REFUGE: The Gwich’in Steering Committee and allies’ ongoing international corporate campaign resulted in the American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG), announcing a new company-wide policy on Tuesday, which rules out providing insurance and investment to “any new Arctic energy exploration” and other climate commitments. This announcement demonstrates continuing momentum towards the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights by the global insurance industry. With this announcement, AIG is the first American company among a growing list of international insurance companies to publicly issue a policy ruling out new energy exploration projects in the Arctic.
GWICH’IN STEERING COMMITTEE TAKE: Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee Bernadette Demientieff said, “Our lives and our sovereignty are non-negotiable. We will not allow the oil industry to destroy Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit, the sacred place where life begins. We are grateful to AIG for stepping up as the first American insurance company to take a lead to protect our sacred lands. We appreciate the long-term vision necessary to set these policies in place so that our people will continue to have a cultural and spiritual connection to our lands, waters, and animals for generations to come.
While this policy provides increased protection for our sacred lands, it does not clarify the geographic coverage of the policy, nor does the company include a fulsome commitment to protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples wherever there are impacts. A more fulsome policy would also include a commitment to operationalizing Indigenous Peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).”
19 INCUMBENTS FOR CONGRESS: This week, LCV Action Fund announced its second round of incumbent endorsements in the 2022 election cycle for the U.S. House. The 19 pro-environment candidates from key districts included: Chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) and Representatives Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Sean Casten (IL-06), Bill Foster (IL-11), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Elissa Slotkin (MI-07), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Susie Lee (NV-03), Susan Wild (PA-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01).
OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “On the heels of the latest, most dire report released by the IPCC earlier this week, LCV Action Fund is proud to support this diverse group of climate champions for re-election to the U.S. House – the urgent need for climate action and environmental justice could not be more clear. These members representing diverse communities across the country have been stalwart advocates for the transformational climate, clean energy, and jobs investments we need and we know they will continue to fight until protections for our climate and democracy are delivered.” Read more about the background and impact these pro-environment candidates will make HERE.
CHISPA WEEK OF ACTION: Chispa is finalizing their week of action today by urging the need to make sure BIPOC workers are financially stable & physically well to go to work, through higher wages, tax cuts for working families, better childcare & safer, healthier workplace policies and conditions. Throughout the week, Chispa National and the Chispa states urged the need for environmental justice, clean energy, a registry update for our immigrant communities, access to clean water, and jobs. To check out our week of action follow Chispa on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
PASS A CLIMATE BILL!: Following the State of the Union, President Biden traveled to the University of Wisconsin’s Superior campus where he highlighted the continued need to invest hundreds of billions in new climate mitigation, clean energy incentives, and address environmental justice. Alongside the visit, LCV ran ads in Superior, urging the president and Congress to pass these needed climate investments. Read more about LCV’s ads HERE.
FEBRUARY TOP 5: In case you missed it, LCV highlighted its Top 5 items in the ongoing fight for climate and environmental justice for the month of February. This is part of a three-part blog series highlighting the work of Black environmental justice leaders over the last five decades. To read the top 5, click HERE, and find our two-part blog series on environmental justice leaders HERE and HERE.
COLORADO CONTINUES TO LEAD ON METHANE REGULATION: On Tuesday, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously adopted new rules to ensure that the costs of cleaning up low-producing and abandoned oil and gas extraction wells are covered by those responsible. The rules closed loopholes that fossil fuel companies have used to avoid paying to clean up old wells and will require the oil and gas industry to clean up 20% of the state’s wells.
CONSERVATION CO TAKE: Kelly Nordini, CEO of Conservation Colorado said, “For too long, the oil and gas industry dumped their responsibility for low-producing wells onto the people of Colorado, and our health, safety, and environment paid the price. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to clean up big polluters’ messes. By requiring industry to pay for and plug 10,000 high-risk wells and so many others that dot our landscape, the COGCC moved one step closer to ensuring that Coloradans’ health and safety always comes before oil and gas industry profits.”
EXTREME HEAT RELIEF IN OREGON: The Oregon Senate passed the Emergency Heat Relief for Renters’ bill this week to give renters the right to install air conditioning, incentivize landlords to install cooling systems, require cooling facilities in new residential buildings and allocate funding to build extreme weather shelters including cooling centers. Currently, landlords in Oregon are not required by law to provide air conditioning and they can prohibit tenants from installing their own. The legislation was introduced in response to the extreme heat wave last summer, Oregon’s 2nd worst natural disaster in recorded history. Now the bill will be considered in the state House.
OLCV TAKE: Oregon League of Conservation Voters Coalition Director, Julia DeGraw, said, “Last summer’s heat wave resulted in nearly 100 deaths in Oregon alone. Many people didn’t have access to air conditioning or cooling centers, and weren’t able to escape the soaring temperatures, making the heatwave not just inconvenient, but dangerous, and ultimately deadly. Heat waves are growing more common as the climate crisis progresses. We need to take a stand and make sure that everyone has a place to go when the weather goes to extremes.”
OFFSHORE WIND MOVES FORWARD IN MASSACHUSETTS: The Massachusetts House passed a bill to advance offshore wind, a priority of LCV state affiliate, the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) who helped shape the legislation. The bill – now headed to the state Senate – creates new incentives for offshore wind, strengthens wildlife and environmental protections, and makes important updates to the state energy systems to support an increasing percentage of wind power. ELM has been working with partners to ensure that economic inclusion considerations are central in expanding offshore wind and successfully secured two amendments to the legislation to require diversity & inclusion plans for new projects among other provisions.
ELM TAKE: Susannah Hatch, clean energy coalition director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts said, “ELM congratulates the House for taking critical steps to ensure that Massachusetts is a leader on offshore wind, including addressing transmission, storage, and workforce development. Since the announcement about this bill while on a tour of the turbines off Block Island, it has been heartening to see the House’s commitment to ensuring the success and responsible development of this industry, which is the single biggest lever we have to reduce emissions while strengthening the economy.”
CLEAN ENERGY IS ENERGY INDEPENDENCE: This week, Conservation Colorado CEO Kelly Nordini was quoted in an article in the Denver Post in response to attempts by the fossil fuel industry to profit off of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by gutting environmental protections and locking in decades of new oil and gas contracts in places like Colorado. International events cause fuel supply insecurity and price instability, and renewables offer a safer, healthier and reliable solution to achieve energy independence.
CONSERVATION COLORADO TAKE: Conservation Colorado CEO Kelly Nordini said, “I think the public knows what is really expensive is a future where we have not dealt with our climate and where we’re still dependent on bad actors in other countries and hit by the massive costs of dirty air, extreme storms, wildfires (and) drought. So we know that we’ve got to build a clean energy economy that cuts costs and pollution — and builds security and stability.”
FIRST FRIDAY ART LAUNCH IN LAS VEGAS: On Friday night, Nevada Conservation League (NCL), LCV, and artist Guilherme Lemes will drop a new mural at First Friday Downtown calling for Climate Justice Now. The beautiful mural connects the ways in which we can honor our environment while uplifting our community’s urgent call for action to address the climate crisis, create jobs, and build a future that centers people who are too often left behind in the solutions that will transform Nevada for the better. To learn more about the artist click HERE.
CHISPA CHISPEANDO EVENT: On Tuesday, Chispa hosted “Chispeando,” a Facebook live discussion on the Build Back Better Agenda. Chispa state leaders Ramon Palencia, Patricia Ferrero, Osvaldo Fonseca, and Juan Carlos Guardado joined Chispa National Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro in the discussion. Visit Chispa’s announcement post HERE and watch the live recording HERE.
CHISPA TX TO LAUNCH NEXT WEEK: On March 8th, Chispa Texas will launch with a virtual celebration at 4 PM CT. At the launch celebration, there will be educational information about climate justice in Texas and music from artist Bidi Bidi Banda. Invitations to the launch were extended to community members. See Chispa Texas’s launch announcement post HERE.
ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES IN NY: On Wednesday, New York state Senator Samra Brouk and New York League of Conservation Voters joined forces to tour electric school buses as they work to make transportation cleaner for school children and communities. State Senator Brouk emphasized how achievable clean transportation is for New York communities on her Twitter.
RED STATE VOTERS WANT CLEAN ENERGY TOO: Nebraska Conservation Voters’ (NCV) deputy director Chelsea Johnson was quoted in a recent article from the Rocky Mountain Institute about the state’s net-zero electricity goals. After years of campaigning by NCV, Nebraska’s three largest electric utilities – which serve over 95% of Nebraskans – have committed to carbon neutrality, a victory which came as a surprise to many due to the political makeup of the state. Johnson addresses this in the article, saying “I think people are surprised when they see a red state that supports clean energy, but it’s really not that surprising. There is widespread support for clean energy. It isn’t a partisan issue to voters.” For the full article, click HERE.
FROM THE FIELD: Across the nation, LCV’s field team continues to hear that communities across the country want climate action now – we’ve knocked on over 518,000 doors and have activated over 31,000 people to advocate for the critical climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. And, over 24,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too.
ALL OF MARCH – Women’s History Month
MARCH 5: Garden with Chispa Arizona Event
MARCH 7: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters hosts Offshore Wind Virtual Community Event
MARCH 8 – Launch of Chispa Texas
MARCH 11 – Government funding expires
MARCH 16 – New Jersey League of Conservation Voters hosts green infrastructure webinar with faith communities