The 2020 Climate Fund will help fill the critical gap in the battle to address the climate crisis: building the public and political will to act. Identifying and investing in place-based organizations to mobilize constituencies to move a progressive agenda on climate is an essential component of building that will. Key organizations in priority states will increase their organizing presence and efforts to link galvanizing local issues facing front-line communities to state and federal policies like carbon pricing, the Clean Power Plan, or clean energy measures that create jobs and help solve the climate crisis.
The DA’s commitment to the development of a fund to support state and local organizations recognizes the imperative of expanding what we have traditionally understood as the climate movement and the need to move climate agendas from the ground up. The groups that are ripe for inclusion and connection in this effort include organizations that represent communities of color, faith communities, young voters, and working families. Many are state-based organizations that are also leaders in the eorts to address inequity and build civic capacity. Many of these organizations also run large scale voter mobilization efforts and electoral campaigns.
Unfortunately, powerful economic, ideological, and political interests have strong incentives to resist measures that acknowledge and address climate change’s devastating effects. The Right has pilloried climate science, turning a historically shared value of environmental protection into a contrivance. Reasoned arguments and real solutions can reach many citizens, but they will not persuade opponents of new climate policies to think beyond their corporate interests.
Our effort will seek state gains while pushing a larger national narrative and political accountability. Part of the job of this state-rooted effort will be to figure out how to leverage local and regional victories into shifts in national debates. At the forefront will be ensuring the policies actually address climate change and expand the economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income communities, guaranteeing a just transition. Coordination among organizing networks and groups can help to ensure that fighting climate change and economic inequality go hand in hand.