Hurricane Matthew is forcing the evacuation of millions from our cities along the southeastern coast after cutting a devastating and deadly path through the Caribbean. Climate change is making storms more intense as ocean temperatures warm. Although bold action is needed to prevent more devastating storms, the fossil fuel industry and their army of lobbyists and politicians are actively blocking any progress.
The DA’s climate agenda recognizes the imperative to act and the necessity to build the political power of the climate movement.
Last week’s federal appeals court hearing on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) illustrates the need to build the power of our movement. The CPP is the key climate policy of the Obama Administration and will set the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Rather than supporting climate action, the CPP is being challenged by over two-dozen, mostly Republican-led states and fossil fuel industry groups. Eighteen states have joined the Obama Administration and understand that implementing the CPP is important to protect our climate and improve public health.
The 28 states opposing the CPP are one indicator of the strength of the fossil fuel industry and the work we have ahead of us. A majority of people support climate action in many of those 28 states but are sold out by politicians. In Florida, 73% of voters support the CPP yet Pam Bondi, the Florida attorney general, is opposing it. Although concern about climate change continues to grow due to flooding tied to sea level rise, the fossil fuel utilities and groups tied to the Koch brothers are spending millions of dollars on a deceptive solar measure that would prohibit the development of rooftop solar in the Sunshine State.
Building the political power of the climate movement is critical, especially given the impact climate change is already having on our most vulnerable communities. As yet another hurricane makes landfall, we’re reminded again that poor communities and communities of color bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change. They also have the most to gain – whether it is creating jobs through the development of clean renewable energy, reducing harmful air pollution and saving lives, or staving off even greater risks of climate disasters. The level of urgency with which we address climate change will have the biggest impact on Millennials, who will have to live with the consequences of the choices we make today. It’s no surprise that poll after poll after poll shows the New American Majority are the strongest climate champions.
Through the DA’s Climate Fund and GiveGreen, the DA is playing an important strategic and catalytic role to build the political power of the climate movement.
First, the Climate Fund is building a base with New American Majority communities and developing the infrastructure to win climate and clean energy policies in critical states. Unfortunately, building infrastructure at the state-level and with the New American Majority has not been a priority to date. In our first round of funding, we have our eyes on impacting this important election as well as building capacity in well-respected, multi-issue organizations to work on climate and clean energy over the long-term.
For example, in Florida, FIRE, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and New Florida Majority (NFM) are building a mass base of climate activists and voters, and connecting climate change to issues of economic justice. NFM and Organize Now are knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors and making climate change and clean energy an issue in hotly contested state senate districts.
In Virginia, Virginia Organizing is growing its organizing in the southwestern coalfields and working with a coalition of groups to rally the governor to support renewable energy. New Virginia Majority is connecting climate policies to racial justice as they talk with voters in African-American communities, especially in the Hampton Roads area, which has experienced worsening flooding due to sea level rise.
In Ohio, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative identified hundreds of new climate activists when members registered more than 150,000 voters. Meanwhile, Stand Up for Ohio is knocking on thousands of doors with information on candidate positions on climate and clean energy in national and state races.
And in Pennsylvania, One Pennsylvania is fighting a proposed refinery and dirty energy port facility in a low-income African-American community, educating voters on U.S. Senate candidate positions on climate change, and mobilizing them to vote.
All of the organizations supported by the Climate Fund are scaling-up their organizing work with the New American Majority, but they still don’t have enough organizers to keep up with the number of people who want to be engaged before and after the election. That’s great news, and an early indicator of success. We’ve leveraged the initial investments from DA Partners into larger resources from new funders for 2017 and 2018, with over $2 million in anticipated outside support.
The second part of the DA’s power building program on climate isGiveGreen, a project of LCV Action Fund that is supported by NRDC Action Fund PAC. GiveGreen allows you to give to candidates who are climate champions while aggregating your donation with other donors. It’s essential we elect climate champions and by giving through GiveGreen, you can also send the message that climate change is one of our highest priorities.If you are considering additional contributions this cycle, help build more power for climate action by giving through GiveGreen.
Make no mistake: Climate is on the ballot in November and the stakes could not be higher. The DA’s Climate Fund and GiveGreen are powerful ways to build the political power of the climate movement. Our climate and communities can’t wait. The time to invest is now.