This Week In Climate (In)Action


Sep 27, 2019

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.



“If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”

— Greta Thunberg at UN Climate Action Summit 

“After realizing what the climate crisis actually was, and not only that, but seeing the injustices that some people were suffering more than others. Low-income communities and communities of color are the most affected not only globally, but locally as well.”

— 17-year-old climate activist Xiye Bastida in an interview with the Huffington Post





Washington Post: The Energy 202: Ed Markey’s climate chops may be critical in Joe Kennedy challenge

Rolling Stone: Meet the Lawyers Beating Back Trump’s Reckless Environmental Policies — and Winning

Vice i-D: 7 ways you can help combat the climate crisis following the global strike



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:

Colorado Sun (CO): Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidates feel the heat from a growing bloc: climate change voters

Bakersfield Californian (CA): Local lawmakers back off refinery bill after meeting with environmental activists

Michigan Live (MI): Environment budget with $120 million for water cleanup earns widespread support in Michigan legislature

Harlem World (NY): De Blasio Administration Announces City Facilities To Undergo Deep Energy Retrofits





WHAT’S COOLER THAN BEING COOL? (NOT THE CRYOSPHERE, FOR LONG):  This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report that assesses the impacts of climate change on our ocean and coastal ecosystems. More than 100 scientists from over 30 nations revealed a grim picture of warmer, more acidic, and less productive oceans that are bound to devastate communities world-wide if our response to climate change lacks ambition and speed. There is still hope, which the report highlights, but we need to fully embrace bold climate action. Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, stated, “If we reduce emissions sharply, consequences for people and their livelihoods will still be challenging, but potentially more manageable for those who are most vulnerable. We increase our ability to build resilience and there will be more benefits for sustainable development.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “This scientific report underscores that we must take rapid and bold action to avert the deterioration of the ocean and everything it does for people—supply us with food, sustain coastal economies, regulate our weather and climate, and buffer our coastal communities from storms … The youth-led global climate strike demonstrated that millions of people are fearful for their future because leaders continue to shirk their moral obligation to preserve a livable planet. The time for action is now.” 


THE FACTS: LCV joined with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for American Progress, and the National Ocean Protection Coalition on a factsheet detailing threats to the ocean and strategies we can take to help preserve it, including protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030. 


THE CONGRESSIONAL TAKE: Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus and member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici outlined a vision for ocean-centric solutions to fight the climate crisis. As Bonamici says, “The health of our ocean reflects the health of our planet, and for too long, our ocean has literally taken the heat for us.”


GRETA FOR THE WIN: This past Monday, Greta Thunberg joined presidents, prime ministers, and corporate executives at the United Nations Climate Action Summit to discuss how to better move forward on climate action. At first, most leaders were silent in regards to implementing more aggressive policies towards climate change. By the end of the summit, 65 nations representing far less than half of global carbon emissions committed to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050. Following this, others announced that they would abide by the Paris Agreement targets. President Macron of France stated, “I don’t want to see new trade negotiations with countries who are running counter to the Paris Agreement,” referring to the United States, whose President has announced his intention to pull out of the Paris Agreement. You can read more about the forum and listen to Greta’s speech here. 


NO RED FLAGS HERE: This week, the Senate voted to confirm Daniel Jorjani as the Department of the Interior’s top lawyer, despite confirmation from the Interior Inspector General that Jorjani is currently under review for his involvement in potentially illegal changes to Interior’s FOIA processes. Furthermore, Senator Ron Wyden, who serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, posits that Jorjani “lied to the committee and perjured himself.” Nevertheless, in a 51-43 vote, senators like Cory Gardner and Martha McSally helped hand Jorjani the position.   


THE FUNDING MUST GO ON: While all eyes were on the House this week, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through November 21, and the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Interior-Environment FY2020 spending bill out of committee. The bill rejects President Trump’s proposed budget cuts and includes modest increases for programs that safeguard our communities’ drinking water, children’s health, and public lands, but those increases still don’t fulfill the true funding needs of our environmental programs.  The House’s version, on the other hand, gets us closer to the environmental priorities and protections we need.


OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said, “While we are pleased to see some modest increases in funding for programs that safeguard communities, drinking water, children’s health and public lands … We will continue to fight in conference for the language of the House-passed Interior-Environment funding bill, which eliminated all anti-environmental poison pill riders and exercised much-needed oversight over the Trump administration’s recklessness with our air, lands, waters and communities.”       

POLLUTION IS PERSONAL: One of our LCV members, Jose Art Chapa, has decided to share with us his story of growing up in a Houston neighborhood poisoned by toxins. Jose describes his personal account of living in a town plagued by chemical pollution and how it took a toll on loved ones in his life. You can read the blog “How Toxic Emissions Poisoned My Houston Hometown” here.






CLEAN TRUCKS, CLEAN AIR (CA): Last Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills that will require “smog checks” for heavy duty trucks and create a plan to reduce emissions from medium and heavy duty trucks Heavy duty trucks account for about 60% of the harmful nitrogen oxide emissions and  both of these initiatives will help California achieve cleaner air, especially after the Trump administration revoked California’s waiver for stricter tailpipe emission standards last week.


CATCH ME RIDIN’ CLEAN 😎 (NM): New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that her state would adopt stricter vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards by the end of next year, joining 13 other states in adopting clean car standards. Together, states are taking the lead.


MINNESOTA TOO! (MN): Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Clean Cars Minnesota, a proposed set of clean car standards — modeled after California’s vehicle emissions standards — that will reduce air pollution from cars and trucks in Minnesota and improve access to electric and fuel-efficient vehicles. For the next 15 months, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will gather input, ensuring voices throughout the state are a part of the rulemaking process. More than a dozen states have already adopted this same standard of clean cars including. In Minnesota, transportation is the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions. Setting these standards will drastically improve the air quality for residents of the state.


CVM TAKE: Conservation Minnesota Executive Director Paul Austin said, “This initiative sends a strong message about the importance of protecting our air, our water, our climate, and the health of every Minnesotan from pollution. The Clean Cars Minnesota standards will make a difference in all of our lives and create opportunities for Minnesotans across many sectors of our economy.”


THE GOV’S TAKE: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said,  “If Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota will. That is why we are taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions in a way that increases car options, protects public health, creates jobs, and saves Minnesotans money at the pump.”


CONGRATS LAURA DENT! (AZ): Woo! Chispa Arizona Executive Director Laura Dent has received the Environmental Leader of the Year Award presented by Arizona Capitol Times. 



September 28: National Public Lands Day

October 2: EPA coal ash rollback hearing in DC

October 15: Fourth Democractic Debate in Columbus, Ohio