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.
“Let us put it in language Mr. Trump might understand. If average global temperatures rise by the end of the century by another one degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, there will be no winners on this planet. Only losers.”
— Former Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon and CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation Patrick Verkooijen in the New York Times
“We don’t just look at one country, we look at the global message because we think the countries that do have resources should provide support to countries that need to transition to renewable energy.”
— 14 year old climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor via Twitter
“What we saw that day was gut-wrenching: The reefs were dead or dying. In all the years I’ve been reporting on climate change, nothing had hit me quite so hard.”
— LA Times reporter Susanne Rust describing her time in the Marshall Islands. Check out her full story here.
E&E News: Markey makes his climate pitch — without Kennedy
Washington Post: Major environmental group backs Collins challenger
Concord Monitor (NH): My Turn: What planet are they on?
Las Vegas Sun (NV): 2020 candidates must talk climate
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:
Lincoln Journal Star (NE): Poll: Utilities should prioritize
Boston Globe (MA): Associated Industries of Mass. joins the effort to save Vineyard Wind
CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: Check out this week’s roundup and this Las Vegas Sun editorial that outlines why climate is a winning issue and ignoring the problem could be political poison for candidates.
LOBBY DAY HOORAY!: The Conservation Voter Movement (CVM) — LCV and our state partners– gathered in DC this week to advocate for legislation protecting public lands and advancing clean energy. Together, state affiliates and LCV National shared their perspectives with Congressional delegations why their communities care about these important issues: providing full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, replacing diesel school buses with electric ones in lower income neighborhoods, reaching a national goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2050, and updating and extending clean energy tax incentives.
SPECIAL THANKS: It’s always great to see the CVM come together and advocate for our shared environmental goals. We would also like to give a special thanks to the states (IL, FL, NJ, NY, NV, MN, MD, WA, MI, SC, VA, NM, CO, MA) who participated in this week’s Lobby Day. The fight continues!
🎩 CAP PANEL: The Center For American Progress held a panel discussion on Thursday with LCV and other environmental groups to discuss how the United States can build a 100% clean future. Panelists included Representatives Debbie Dingell, Joe Neguse, and Paul Tonko, as well as Nevada Conservation League Deputy Director Barb Hartzell. Panelists highlighted the overwhelming support for 100% clean energy across the country, making it clear that momentum is building, and we are all ready for just and equitable plan for 100 percent clean energy at the federal level.
OUR TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Deputy Director Barb Hartzell, who was on the panel, had this to say, “It is time for people of color to be at the conversation, to be at the forefront. We know about the problem and care deeply, and want to act.”
$$$ FOR GOING GREEN: LCV and the NRDC Action Fund will spend a combined $200,000 on digital ad campaigns thanking environmental champions in Congress for their support of clean energy and encouraging them to continue to push for clean energy tax credits this session. The organizations are working with champions in Congress to update and extend a number of clean energy tax incentives that are outdated, phasing down, or have expired for things like wind and solar, efficiency, and electric vehicles, expanding them to support energy storage and offshore wind, hoping to include the provisions in the next tax vehicle or end-of-year spending package.
OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said “Clean energy champions in Congress have a unique opportunity right now to get the U.S. one step closer to a clean energy economy: tax credits. Passing clean energy tax incentives and expanding them to support energy storage and offshore wind is our big chance to meaningfully address climate change in this Congress. There is no time to waste in supporting these transitions to 100% clean energy; we cannot fail to safeguard our children’s and grandchildren’s future any longer.”
TWITTER BANS POLITICAL ADS: Today, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey released the initial details of his platform’s new ban on political ads. While the details are still not entirely clear, it seems the ban will not allow for environmental advocacy groups to run ads about issues of national importance, like climate change, if those ads advocate for or against a candidate, legislative proposal, or election.
OUR TAKE: Over 20 environmental organizations, including LCV, sent a letter to Twitter’s leadership, calling on them to allow climate change ads under their new rules. Here’s a taste of what we had to say: “As advocates, we must have the ability to disseminate the urgency of our work and mission to the public and, when necessary, hold elected officials accountable for their failure to act. By designating climate change a “political” issue, Twitter will be legitimizing the one-sided and extremist view that climate change is rooted in politics instead of scientific consensus.”
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FORUM: Several presidential hopefuls gathered at South Carolina State University, an HBCU, to participate in the first ever environmental justice forum, hosted by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators along with several environmental and racial justice organizations, including LCV’s South Carolina affiliate, Conservation Voters South Carolina. Candidates discussed environmental injustice and racism that frontline communities are dealing with in this country, especially the very real damages of climate change. These injustices are caused by regulations and policies that negatively affect POC and lower income communities — putting them at the most risk for pollution, cancer, asthma and other health related issues. In order to achieve the goal of environmental justice that many candidates have expressed interest in solving, the communities facing the brunt of the impacts must be at the forefront, shaping the policies.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “Kudos to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, ReGenesis, and the many advocacy groups and media partners that put on this unprecedented event. The sheer fact that we’re having a presidential forum on environmental justice is long overdue and an important step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. We all have a responsibility to learn from the environmental justice leaders who have been ringing the alarm bells on environmental racism in our country for decades — presidential candidates included.”
YES, WARREN HAS A PLAN FOR THAT CORPORATE CORRUPTION: Elizabeth Warren has released a new proposal, which is part of a larger initiative to end corporate corruption, and cites Exxon, who is embroiled in several lawsuits regarding fraud and deception, as an example of the type of corporate misconduct she intends to curb. Warren is the first candidate to release a full comprehensive plan on how to tackle this problem as well as the consequences that come along with it. The plan has three major elements. First, Warren aims to create a “corporate perjury” law that will punish executives and corporations for knowingly lying to the public. The second rule states that there must be no conflicts of interest in research or else it will be inadmissible. The last piece of Warren’s plan is to create a national Office of the Public Advocate to help bring the general public into the regulations process.
GREEN NEW DEAL FOR PUBLIC HOUSING: Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have unveiled their Green New Deal Public Housing plan that would provide $180 billion over 10 years to cut carbon dioxide emissions in public housing complexes across the country. Senator Elizabeth Warren is also a cosponsor on the bill. The legislation would mandate that solar panels and other renewable energy sources are a part of public housing policies.
SEC. BERNHARDT’S ETHICAL FAILINGS: Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt continues to come under fire for his past actions as an oil and gas lobbyist. Groups such as Friends of the Earth have expressed concern for the ethical tangle that comes along with him overseeing the very issues he once lobbied for. They released 900 pages of Interior Department emails that show his previous ethical struggles. He continues to reach out to ethics lawyers to help guide him on the best practices to do his job and avoid conflicts. Bernhardt often deals with oil and gas extraction, water allocation and wildlife protection issues that are central to the Interior Department’s mission but were also critical to his past lobbying portfolio.
SELL THOSE EVS, SAYS A NEW STUDY: Sierra Club’s Hieu Le and Andrew Linhardt put together a study outlining the experience for buying electric vehicles. The report found that 44% of dealerships offering electric vehicles (EVs) had no more than two EVs available in showrooms. In addition to dealerships’ lack of enthusiasm for selling EVs, the report also found that salespeople at the dealerships failed to exhibit simple knowledge about EV technology. Automakers need to boost production of these vehicles and offer incentives to the dealerships selling them. There also needs to be more education surrounding EVs, how they work and how we can benefit from them. A Reuters article summarizes the report here.
EPA THROWS SCIENCE OUT THE WINDOW: New York Times Reporter Lisa Friedman wrote a story this week about a new draft of an EPA rule she obtained that would undermine scientific and medical research that informs public health safeguards, despite strong protests from the scientific community and other federal departments. This new Trump administration rule would require scientists to disclose raw data, much of which is private, personal data that researchers are typically not required to make public. While the administration is parading this around as a transparency measure, the truth is that it will make gathering the scientific basis of environmental safeguards prohibitively difficult because the necessary studies often rely on health data collected under confidentiality agreements.
NEGUSE’S GREEN RESOLUTION: Representative Joe Neguse launched a new initiative to begin transitioning the United States Capitol complex to the exclusive use of renewable energy sources. On January 18, 2019, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act, which set a mandate of 100% renewable electricity in the District by the year 2032. The Green Government resolution takes into consideration the findings from the IPCC and Washington DC’s goal of 100% renewable electricity to support the Capitol complex transitioning to clean renewable energy by 2032.
OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said, “Washington, DC and states across the country are leading on the transition to 100% clean energy while the Trump administration tries to take the country in the opposite direction. Communities of color and low-income communities have borne the disproportionate burden of fossil fuel pollution for too long and are also being hit first and worst by climate change’s effects, so these local-level clean energy commitments can help provide much needed relief. We applaud Rep. Neguse and his first-term colleagues as original cosponsors for leading by example and promoting clean renewable electricity for the Capitol complex and recognizing DC’s contribution in the fight against climate change.”
IT’S 100% OFFICIAL (NE): After the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors announced a historic plan for the state to become carbon free by 2050 in October, they unanimously passed the proposal yesterday. According to a Nebraska Conservation Voters poll, this decision aligns with the desires of Lincoln and Omaha-area voters: they want the state to run on 100% clean energy by 2050.
CVM TAKE: Nebraska Conservation Voters tweeted, “Thank you to the OPPD Board of Directors for unanimously passing the proposal to go 100% zero carbon by 2050. This is a big moment for Nebraska!”
BLEEP-BLORP-BLOOP, DOES NOT COMPUTE (OR): The Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) released their annual Scorecard on Wednesday, and for the first time ever, 17 legislators received an incomplete score because they left the Clean Energy Jobs bill unfinished business. It took an unprecedented, anti-democratic walkout of 11 Senate Republicans to block passage of the overwhelmingly supported legislation, OLCV’s most critical priority this year. So, in the Senate, only those who voted to support the bill received scores — everyone else received incompletes because their work remains unfinished.
CVM TAKE: In the introduction to the OLCV Scorecard, Executive Director Doug Moore says, “I had hoped to open the 2019 OLCV Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature with words of excitement and celebration after the passage of Clean Energy Jobs, as well as praise for the strong leadership of Oregon’s elected leaders. It is instead with frustration and disappointment that we are here, again, waiting for Oregon’s elected leaders to pass climate legislation after the adjournment of the legislature.”
November 19: Senate EPW hearing on Section 401 rule (proposal going after state’s abilities to set clean water protections)
November 20: Fifth Democratic Debate – Atlanta, GA
November 21: Government funding deadline for 2020
December 19: Sixth Democratic Debate – Los Angeles, CA