NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

trump 2This is what the NRDC Action Fund has been reading this week:

Clean Power Plan opponents want Trump in office – The next president may decide the fate of the Clean Power Plan, and officials leading the charge against the emissions rule are rooting for Donald Trump. (U.S. News & World Report)

Now Trump’s energy advisor wants to undermine clean water – Trump’s energy adviser, Rep. Kevin Cramer, will be advising the presidential candidate to “tackle” the Clean Water Rule. (E&E Publishing)

Across the globe, air and water problems are worsening – According to the United Nations Environment Program, damage to Earth is happening more rapidly than previously understood. (Washington Post)

Trump admits climate change is real at his golf course – Donald Trump, an outspoken climate denier, wants to save his golf course in Ireland from rising sea levels caused by climate change. (Salon)

Al Gore is troubled by Trump’s climate position and thinks you should be too – According to former vice president Al Gore, if Donald Trump becomes president, he would try to roll back years of progress in the continued fight against climate change. (NBC New York)

Trump presidency = bad for the environment – Former Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner explains why Trump’s vow to renegotiate the Paris climate agreement is a bad deal. (U.S. News & World Report)

Climate change is more than political to Americans – Americans affected directly by climate change say it’s not just political, it’s personal. (E&E Publishing)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland. | Photo Source: Gage Skidmore

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland. | Photo Source: Gage Skidmore

This is what the NRDC Action Fund has been reading this week:

Donald Trump would abandon Paris climate pact – Donald Trump said this week that as President he would “at minimum” renegotiate the Paris climate agreement, adding, “and I might do something else.” (Business Insider)

Trump and the Paris Climate Agreement – A senior State Department official says market forces pressuring the fossil fuel industry mean the U.S. will likely meet its Paris climate goals even if a President Donald Trump reneged on the deal, but international observers still fear a climate denier in the White House. (The Guardian)

Climate change presents a financial and human risk – The World Bank reports that by 2050 climate change would put 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion at risk without preventative action. (The Guardian)

Donald Trump taps climate denying energy adviser – Donald Trump has tapped U.S. Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, a climate change skeptic, to help draft his energy policy. (Huffington Post)

Bill Nye on climate deniers – Popular scientist Bill Nye explains his efforts to challenge climate deniers. (Huffington Post)

Farewell to the American West – The Center for American Progress and Conservation Science Partners released an analysis to show that the American West is disappearing to development. (ThinkProgress)

En banc review for the Clean Power Plan – Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced it will hear en banc from the outset legal challenges to EPA regulations that cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. The regulations are part of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a key driver of the global climate agreement reached in Paris. (Washington Post)

Time for Senator Portman to Clear the Air

20639961338_baa49886ea_zWhat’s Senator Rob Portman’s position on climate change?

For years, Sen. Portman’s pronouncements on the issue have amounted to a series of shifting, clever evasions designed to make it look like he agrees with scientists while rejecting the heart of the scientific consensus.

In the past year or so, he has tried to have it both ways by first echoing scientists’ conclusion that humans contribute to climate change, but then undercutting the point by adding that we don’t know exactly how much humans contribute – meaning that we don’t know enough to do something about the central environmental threat of our time.  And he’s put that view into (in)action by opposing each and every plan to actually do something to reduce carbon pollution and climate change.  Most notably, he voted to kill the Clean Power Plan, which would require utilities to limit their carbon pollution.

Recently, Sen. Portman has found another way to try to make it look like he’s not a climate denier.  He co-sponsored an amendment offered by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that says that climate change is real, that humans contribute to it, and that Congress should do something about it.

Other supporters of the resolution have a clearer record on climate action.  Senator Graham has supported bills that would have actually cut carbon pollution, although he scuttled the last attempt to get legislation through Congress, and he opposes the Clean Power Plan.  And some Republican co-sponsors of the amendment, like Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), have voted to support the Clean Power Plan.

So where’s Rob Portman?  Does his backing for the Graham amendment amount to just another bit of “greenwashing” by the Senator – a way to sound concerned while doing nothing?

Ohioans ought to be confronting Sen. Portman directly with that question.  Does Sen. Portman still contend that we don’t know enough about the human contribution to climate change to take action?  And if he now believes in action, what action is he willing to take?  Will he support the Clean Power Plan and its real and affordable carbon pollution cuts?  If not, what’s his alternative?

It’s important to press these questions because Sen. Portman has been so squirrely on the issue for so long.  In 2015, he first introduced, but then stepped back from offering an amendment that would not only have killed the Clean Power Plan, but would have fundamentally undercut the central principle of the Clean Air Act – that we need national clean air standards because air (and air pollution) travel across state lines.  He has never repudiated his proposal, but has also never put it to a vote.

Also last year, he first voted for a resolution saying climate change is a problem, but then voted against another resolution that stated that humans contribute “significantly” to climate change.  Portman voted “no” even though scientists are clear that the human contribution is significant enough to be driving climate change, and significant enough that reducing pollution is the way to limit the impacts of climate change.  But Rob Portman wasn’t willing to acknowledge that.

Since then, he’s tried the cute and misleading dance of saying he believes that humans contribute to climate change, while rejecting the scientific understanding that humans contribute enough to make all the difference in the world.  His wording is technically true – scientists can’t say exactly what the human contribution is – while ignoring the scientists’ urgent message – that we know enough to require action to limit the human contribution.

And now comes the Graham resolution.  Does this represent a change in the Senator’s thinking, or is it just one more way to obscure his position and delay action?

The question takes on even more significance with Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican candidate for President.  Trump has denied the most basic conclusions of climate science with his usual off-the-cuff, devil-may-care truculence.  (Trump’s climate comments are of a piece with his idiotic dismissal of the Nobel Prize-winning science on the ozone hole, which he whisks away with personal anecdotes about hairspray.) Does Senator Portman reject Donald Trump’s willful, destructive ignorance on climate science?  Rob Portman’s stance is carefully constructed and mildly worded, but is it really much different?

Ohioans ought to be asking Sen. Portman to clear the air.

David Goldston is director of government affairs at the NRDC Action Fund.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary


Source: © Thomas Wolf,

The lead crisis still looms – Senate Democrats called on Congress to prevent new cases of lead poisoning in schools and to invest in the health and safety of the nation’s children. (Washington Post)

Money for millennials – The millennial vote will be a deciding factor in the 2016 election, so California billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer pledged $25 million to register them in Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire. (LA Times)

Connecting transport and climate change – The Obama administration’s action to curb vehicle emissions reconnects the important issues of transportation infrastructure and climate change. (StreetsBlog USA)

Rise of the believers – The consensus on climate change is growing amongst conservative Republicans despite the two leading Republican presidential candidates repeatedly dismissing climate science. (Bloomberg)

Polls also show rising climate concern – Concern about climate change is increasing across the board among Democrats, Republicans and independents. (FiveThirtyEight)

All about the energy Energy and environment issues could be play a key role in the closest Senate contests in the nation in Ohio, Illinois, New Hampshire, Colorado and Florida. (The Hill)

Paris climate deal at stake in November November’s presidential candidates are extremely polarized on climate change, and the outcome of the election will impact the Paris climate agreement. (Climate Central)

Climate Change: The Movie – Infamous climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) thinks climate change is a “Hollywood problem” and that the annual United Nations meeting on the subject is just a “big party.” (PJ Media)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary


This is what the NRDC Action Fund has been reading this week:

Flint residents still can’t drink their tap water – Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) blocked a vote on a provision to provide funding to Flint, despite bipartisan support for providing the $250 million for repairs to the water lines and to address the public health effects from the crisis. (CNN)

Why stop with climate science? How far is too far? – GOP presidential candidates have rejected our shared reality of climate change, which is arguably a part of a larger trend of science denial. (NPR)

BILL BILL BILL BILL – Bill Nye doesn’t think Republicans have a shot at the White House as long as they keep denying climate change is real, thanks in part to millennials. (International Business Times)

Voters care about climate change – Precinct walkers and political spending are helping to make climate a salient issue for the November 2016 elections. (The American Prospect)

High stakes election – President Obama’s climate legacy, especially with the Paris climate agreement, will depend on who is elected as the next President. (International Business Times)

No really, it’s incredibly high stakes – This election will have a profound effect on one of the greatest risks facing the world right now — but people have a hard time grasping the dangers of climate change. (New York Times)

It’s not enough on its own – The next U.S. president will need to go further with climate action in order to meet commitments in the Paris agreement. (The Houston Chronicle)