THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – NOVEMBER 13, 2020

Contact: Emily Samsel, emily_samsel@lcv.org, 828-713-9647

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – NOVEMBER 13, 2020

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.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time. The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save the climate.”

— President-elect Joe Biden in his victory speech on Saturday

“Me to my 8yo: I want you to remember this. I want you to remember that the reason the mean president was defeated was because Black people like you and me went to vote. Even though the mean president made it so hard, never forget that Black people voted and saved the people.”

— The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal via Twitter

“There are going to be a lot of different narratives in the coming days, weeks, and years about this election, but what I know for sure is that things would look very different (much worse) if it wasn’t for those who’ve committed their entire lives to organizing around justice. I’m thinking especially of the young activists and organizers of color who have spent years knocking on doors, politically educating their communities, petitioning, protesting, and everything else that happens when there is no spotlight on you, but that makes real change possible.”

— Atlantic Writer Clint Smith, via Twitter

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Washington Post: A Biden victory positions America for a 180-degree turn on climate change
NPR: Biden Will Face Major Limits To His Ambitious Climate Plans
Buzzfeed News: Trump Screwed The US On Climate Change. Can Biden Save It?
Sierra Magazine: The Climate Voters Are Coming
Bitterroot Magazine: Westerners Care About Climate and Conservation. Did They Vote Accordingly?
InsideClimateNews: A Bipartisan Climate Policy? It Could Happen Under a Biden Administration, Washington Veterans Say
Politico: Greens’ Post-Election Analysis
Our Daily Planet: Bonus Pre-Election Interview with Pita Juarez, Comms Director of Chispa
The Washington Post: Bloomberg pumps big money into low-profile state races to boost climate policies

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

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:

AZCentral (AZ): Groups knocked on 1 million doors, made 8 million calls to boost Latino turnout in Arizona
New Jersey Spotlight News (NJ): Governor Phil Murphy passes nation’s strongest ban on plastic bags.
Denver Post (CO): Colorado regulators give initial OK to ban on flaring of oil, gas wells to curb methane pollution
Portland Press Herald (ME): Maine Climate Council releases draft of climate change action plan
The Cherokee Ledger News (MI): The US is officially out of the Paris climate agreement. Here’s what that could mean for Michigan.
WisPolitics.com (WI): Conservation Voters: Crucial in preserving veto power
WCJB TV-20 (FL): Four Out of Six Amendments Clear the Finish Line

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THE NEWS WORTH WAITING FOR: When the presidential results came in, LCV was overjoyed to congratulate the next president and vice president of the United States Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, two true environmental champions, on their historic win for equity and climate justice. Kamala Harris has made history as the first Black person and South Asian American to serve as vice president and the first woman to serve in the White House. President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris put forth the most ambitious plan for climate action and environmental justice ever and received the greatest number of votes of any presidential ticket in history. The Biden-Harris administration will have the strongest mandate to act on climate and environmental justice in our nation’s history.

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “The candidate with the most ambitious plan for climate action and environmental justice ever has won the most votes ever.  Over the past few weeks, voters made a clear choice to elect new leaders who will create millions of good paying jobs, center the health and well-being of our communities, and make our country a leader in climate action once again. This is the end of the toxic, anti-science, anti-environment, racist agenda of the Trump administration — together we defeated the dirtiest president of all time. And to be clear, this victory would not have happened without people of color who had to overcome historic barriers to voting. LCV is so proud to have helped elect President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, and we can’t wait to work with them to build back better for a more just and equitable clean energy future for all.”

OUR TAKE — ON VIDEO: In the face of a global pandemic, a national reckoning on racial justice, and the already-too-real-impacts of climate change, LCV’s affiliated entities and our state partners met the moment with our most ambitious electoral efforts ever. Watch our new video that sums it all up.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL TAKE: Last week, LCV, Chispa Arizona, NRDC Action Fund, NextGen America, Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, EDF Action, and Environment America held a post-election press conference to debrief the critical role climate and environmental justice played in the 2020 elections, highlight the individual and collective efforts organizations played in electing leaders up and down the ballot, and outline the shared goals for climate and environmental justice moving forward. Watch a recording of the event here.

OUR TAKE: During the press conference, LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Joe Biden was the candidate with the most ambitious climate action and environmental justice plan we’ve ever seen, and he’s received the most votes of any candidate in the history of our country. A diverse coalition of voters, who have voted for Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, have made it clear again, and again, and again that they want climate action, and they want it now…we need to make sure these political victories turn into climate, democracy, environmental justice, and racial justice policies.”

CHISPA AZ TAKE: During the press conference, Chispa Arizona Executive Director Laura Dent said, “The victory that we have seen for Biden and Kelly in Arizona — which we are so proud of — is really a byproduct of a decade plus of grassroots organizing, community building, and powerbuilding in our state.  If you remember the legacy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, we’ve gone from the epicenter of hate to a battleground state, and we couldn’t be more proud of that development, particularly around the issues of climate and the environment, which our community cares a lot about.”

THE DEMOCRACY TAKE: Voters across the country had to overcome tremendous barriers to voting this year. Some barriers were specific to the pandemic, but others have long existed — particularly to suppress the votes of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. This year’s elections only underscored the dire need for measures to address these inequities. That’s why it is so important that Speaker Pelosi has already committed to prioritizing HR. 1, the For the People Act as the first order of business for the new Congress in 2021.

LCV NEW MEMBER GUIDE: After last week’s elections, LCV has compiled our 2020 New Member Guide, which summarizes the backgrounds and environmental positions of newly elected federal candidates who were endorsed and supported by LCV Action Fund and our state LCV partners.The Guide includes three new members of the Senate and 10 new members of the House. This new Congress will also better reflect the diversity of our country, and include more women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, building upon the precedent-shattering class of 2018. (Link to PDF)

THE TIDE IS IN: Green Wave 2020, a joint project of LCV, EDF Action, the NRDC Action Fund, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, and the Sierra Club launched in September with the goal of mobilizing each group’s members to help turn the tide in Washington, DC by building a Green Wave. Together, the groups supported more than 40 environmental champions for election to the White House and the Congress in the 2020 election. To tackle the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was staffed by over 70 professional organizers who recruited the groups’ members for remote phone- and text-banking opportunities and used other online tools to engage the groups’ members. Learn more about Green Wave 2020 here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld has this to say: “LCV and our members are proud to be a part of this amazing collaboration that once again helped elect climate and environmental justice champions up and down the ballot. “We are thrilled to continue in this fight with our partners, members, the pro-environment House majority, and the White House to achieve climate and environmental justice and work to build a cleaner and healthier future for all — we are in this together.”

THE COOLEST SHOW: This election was crucial for climate policy — President-elect Joe Biden put forth the most ambitious climate and environmental justice plan in history and received the most votes in history too. LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld joined the Hip Hop Caucus’ The Coolest Show to reflect on the election and discuss what is next. And, of the utmost importance, Sittenfeld said that there’s a need for us to focus on finding climate solutions “in a more inclusive, intersectional way.”

NEVADA VOTER VOICES: As votes were counted in Nevada, Chispa Nevada is uplifted stories from Latinx voters, who cast their ballots in record numbers, fighting for families, madre tierra, and our future.  Here are some highlights:

ABI’S TAKE: 18 year old Chispa Nevada Volunteer Abi said, “I am excited that I was able to vote for the first time in the presidential election.  It’s also very important to me because, as a Latina woman, I voted not only for myself, but for the family and friends I have that do not have that privilege. I voted this 2020 election because I want a safer life for my family, friends and I.”

DAYSI’S TAKE: First time voter Daysi said, “I am a first-time voter and I decided to vote this year because I have seen the frustration from my community along with others. I know this isn’t direct change but it is a small step to the bigger picture.”

MARTHA’S TAKE: Second time voter Martha said, “I’m so happy and proud that I can be a part of this moment. I ensured I early voted on this election because, as a Latina, I know what is at stake for my community and me.  This is my second time voting on a presidential race, and I will keep doing so as long as I live.”

ASHLEY’S TAKE: Second time voter Ashley said, “This is my second time voting. I am so happy my voice is being used because, as a Latina woman, it’s hard to be heard. I voted early this year, for those who could not vote, for my DACA recipients, and my family. I will continue to participate in each election because I’m proud to be a Latina using my power to vote.”

SOPHIA’S TAKE: Nevada voter Sophia said, “I chose to vote this election for my rights and to protect the rights of people of color, LGTBQIA, and women.  I believe that change starts with us and if we want change, we have to fight for it. I knew by voting, my voice would be heard.”

SILVIA’S TAKE: Nevada voter Silvia said, “I voted because I believe my voice has meaning in democracy.  I believe in the power of our voice when we choose to protest, educate and vote. I voted for love, equality and humanity.”

GREENWASHING FAILS: After vulnerable Republican Senator Cory Gardner attempted — and failed — to greenwash his anti-environment record by campaigning on the Great American Outdoors Act, the Trump administration further proved their support of the law to be a facade too. Last week, the Trump administration failed to submit a list of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) projects to fund in fiscal year 2021, threatening the success of a vast collection of conservation projects, many of which would create more equitable access to outdoor spaces all across our country. With the Trump administration failing to meet its obligation under the Great American Outdoors Act, it is now up to Congress to allocate the money to projects that need it most.

🤙NUMBER 10 TO THE 1ST STATE: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited President-elect Joe Biden to attend the COP26 climate change summit, which the UK will host in Glasgow next year. Johnson is one of the first world leaders to speak with Biden since his victory, and, according to Johnson, the climate crisis and promoting democracy are among our countries’ top shared priorities.

👋NOUS REVIENDRONS: It took three years for Trump to officially remove the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement — and this disagreeable retreat formally went into effect the day after the most consequential election of our lives. But, don’t worry, we’ll be back, ready to join our global partners to try to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising one and a half, and definitely not more than two, degrees Celsius.

BIDEN’S TAKE: The day after the election, Joe Biden said, “Today the Trump administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement.  And in exactly 77 days, a Biden administration will rejoin it.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

GREEN GOVERNORS REELECTED (WA, NC): In both Washington and North Carolina, governors who ran as strong environmental champions were firmly reelected. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has created a national profile as one of the nation’s strongest advocates for climate action and has called for a clean fuel standard for his state in the coming legislative session.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has been reelected after passing major climate efforts, including Executive Order 80 in 2018, which calls for a 70% reduction in electric utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and a carbon neutral power sector by 2050. It also aims to put at least 80,000 more electric vehicles on the roads by 2025 and to prioritize efforts to make the state more resilient in the coming decades.

OUR STATE AFFILIATE’S TAKE: On Governor Jay Inslee’s reelection, Washington Conservation Voters said: “We’re excited to continue down the path towards climate justice with Jay Inslee as our governor. Thank you, Washington state, for showing up, trusting science, and electing this environmental champion to a third term!”

NEVADA REAFFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY (NV): With over 60% of the vote, Nevadans passed Question 6, which, over the next decade, will double the amount of renewable energy that energy providers must generate or acquire for sale. Energy providers now have to bump up renewable energy progressively over the next 10 years to reach 50% by 2030. Nevada has affirmed its commitment to renewable energy at the ballot several times over the last few years and this keeps Nevada firmly on the path to 100% clean energy.

DENVER PASSES MILLIONS IN NEW CLIMATE FUNDING (CO): With nearly two-thirds of the vote, the city of Denver passed new dedicated funding that will raise between $36 million and $45 million per year for climate investments like clean energy workforce training, environmental justice initiatives and clean transportation projects.

COLUMBUS PASSES 100% CLEAN ENERGY AT THE BALLOT (OH): In a landslide vote, Columbus passed a green-energy electricity aggregation plan that promises to supply 100% of the city’s power needs with renewable energy by 2023 without having to raise any new taxes.

DANGEROUS GREAT LAKES PIPELINE SHUT DOWN (MI): Michigan Governor Whitmer announced that she is revoking the easement agreement for the Line 5 Pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac that runs through Lake Michigan. This will shut down the damaged and dangerous oil pipeline for good by mid-2021 for posing “an unreasonable risk” to Great Lakes in violation of the public trust.

OUR STATE AFFILIATE’S TAKE: Executive Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak said, “Governor Whitmer’s bold action to shut down Line 5 protects our Great Lakes, our health and our state’s economy by ending the threat of a catastrophic oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac once and for all. This 67-year-old pipeline is the single biggest threat to our Great Lakes, and Canadian oil company Enbridge Energy has proven for years through its actions that it cannot safely maintain and operate it. The risk to our most precious fresh water resource, the source of drinking water for millions, is far too great to allow Line 5 to continue operating and Governor Whitmer rightly moved to protect our state.”

COMING UP:

November 17: House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Chair Grijalva’s landmark Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act and other ocean climate action bills
December 11: Government funding expires
December 31: 2020 expires
January 3: Swearing in of the 117th Congress
January 5: Georgia runoff elections for federal Senate races
January 20: Presidential Inauguration

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