NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

Bill_Nye

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)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

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

Photo by: Day Donaldson, Flickr

Photo by: Day Donaldson, Flickr

Trump and Cruz would undo climate efforts – Responding to a survey from the conservative American Energy Alliance, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both said they would undo pretty much all of President Obama’s climate policies. (Wall Street Journal, The Hill)

Ted Cruz fact-checked – On the campaign trail Ted Cruz likes to say the EPA is trying to regulate “puddles” with its Waters of the United States rule clarification. PolitiFact this week rated his claim “mostly false.” (PolitiFact Florida)

Leo calls out GOP presidential candidates – Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio took advantage of a press conference for his film The Revenant to attack the GOP presidential candidates for their backward positions on climate science, saying “We should not have a candidate who doesn’t believe in modern science to be leading our country…. Climate change is one of the most concerning issues facing all humanity and the United States needs to do its part.” (The Guardian)

Rising urgency to rising seas – With current carbon dioxide emissions levels, sea level rise will be much worse than we thought — nearly double initial projections — by 2100 because of melting ice on Antarctica. Coastal communities are at an even greater risk in a shorter timeframe as a result. (Washington Post, New York Times)

Why don’t we ask presidential candidates more about climate change? – Even though climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, less than 2% of presidential primary debate questions have been about climate change. (Media Matters)

The whole planet should fear a Trump win – Although his positions on climate change policies are virtually indistinguishable from the other GOP presidential contenders, his logic takes it to another level. (Washington Post)

Americans are increasingly concerned – Sixty-four percent of Americans – up from 55% – said they are either worried a “great deal” or a “fair amount” about climate change. Have GOP lawmakers gotten the message? (MSNBC)

Breaking rank with GOP on climate – Will Republicans break rank on climate change and stop denying? There’s some reason for hope. (Huffington Post)

Bafflingly, Trump thinks he’s an environmentalist –  Donald Trump said in 2014: “I happen to be, in my own way, an environmentalist.” But it’s easy to consider a problem solved when you don’t think there’s a problem in the first place. (Washington Post)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

In a special Florida-focused edition of the NRDC Action Fund’s weekly news summary, here’s what we’ve been reading this week:

Largo,_FL_street_flooding_during_TS_Debby,_June_2012Florida voters vs. GOP presidential candidates – Florida voters and their local representatives have been begging the GOP presidential candidates to develop and discuss their plans to act on climate change, but for some reason, the candidates continue to deny there’s even an issue to address, let alone possible solutions. (Grist)

Florida Republicans want climate action – In Florida, where flooding from sea level rise is already impacting the state, addressing climate change is a bipartisan issue. (Scientific American)

Rubio didn’t change with the times – This eulogy for former presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s political career mourns his resistance to change with the times on climate change. (Grist)

Rubio eulogizes GOP climate (non)position – It wasn’t just Rubio’s presidential run that finally gave its last breath — the GOP’s climate action position (or lack thereof) is dying along with it. (Washington Post)

Rising sea levels will push Floridians out – Climate change will force millions of Floridians to either adapt to rising sea levels, or leave. (Miami Herald)

Florida mayor speaks climate truths – For Florida mayors, the dangerous impacts of climate change are not a potential future scenario, they’re a current reality. They believe that denying the problem and the need to act will have grave consequences. (Sun Sentinel)

GOP politics hurting coal-mining communities

coal minersA profound market shift towards cleaner fuels, renewables, and energy efficiency is dramatically reducing demand for coal.  And the nation is finally addressing the burden of disease and the danger to the climate that unrestrained coal burning foists on us all.  As this unstoppable market shift proceeds, many coal-mining communities are facing real hardship and need help.

Some political leaders have stepped up to offer coal communities much-needed help to meet these challenges.  Others are engaged in pure demagoguery – they’re scapegoating the EPA for the coal industry’s much deeper economic woes, blocking any help for coal communities.  They are holding coal communities hostage for political gain.

For two years running, President Obama’s budget has included the “POWER+ Plan,” $55 million per year to invest in coal communities, workers, and technology, to help them transition to new and growing segments of the economy.  Hillary Clinton has gone a lot further, proposing a multi-year $30 billion plan to help coal communities and move us to a cleaner energy future that leaves no one behind.

How have Congressional Republicans responded?  Cynically.  Led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, they deny the reality of the transformation in energy markets.  They falsely blame the president and the EPA for all of coal’s woes.  They play with the pain in these communities by encouraging false hope that coal will make a comeback if we elect a Republican president.

In the old days, when Congress knew how to legislate, Senator McConnell might see the president’s POWER+ proposal and raise him, by putting more money into the effort.  Instead, they have blocked any aid coal country families need.  They’ve chosen to stoke people’s fears and anxieties, instead of helping them deal with reality.

This week the coal industry and its Republican allies have jumped all over Hillary Clinton for openly recognizing that coal is in decline. She has made a huge proposal to help these communities deal.  Instead, they’re cherry-picking one sentence – the one that recognizes these communities have real problems and need real help – and trying to turn her into the villain.

She is providing leadership, and they are responding with demagoguery.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists are warning the world that we must speed up the transition to clean energy and turn down our reliance on coal and other dirty fuels in order to avoid the worst consequences of a rapidly warming planet.  In the U.S., market forces have jump-started this process.  It makes sense to help families and communities whose lives are being transformed by the shift to cleaner energy.  It’s cruel and unfair to delude them and hold them hostage for political gain.

Rubio’s climate change answer fail

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Source: Gage Skidmore

The question finally came. For months, Republican candidates have been ignoring or belittling the fact that climate change endangers millions of Americans with extreme drought, floods and storms. Then in the Republican debate on Thursday night, Sen. Marco Rubio was asked at last, “Will you acknowledge the reality of the scientific consensus of climate change?”

Presented with one of the biggest challenges to our children’s generation, Sen. Rubio chose his now-standard path of denial and failure. He isn’t alone. None of the Republican candidates running for president has offered to lead America through the climate threat and into a vibrant, low-carbon future.

But as a resident of Florida—a state especially vulnerable to climate impacts—and standing in Miami—a city pummeled by sea-level rise—Sen. Rubio’s remarks were especially out of step.

“Sure,” he said. “The climate is changing…There was never a time when the climate was not changing,” pretty much proving he doesn’t understand the difference between climate and weather.

The National Academy of Sciences, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and countless other scientists report that pollution has accelerated and is supercharging weather patterns. Nineteen of the hottest years ever recorded have all occurred in the last 20 years. Man-made climate change isn’t an exotic theory, it’s mainstream science.

Sen. Rubio went on to say that he supports “mitigation” efforts to help places like Florida deal with sea-level rise, but he doesn’t plan to actually solve the problem. “As far as a law that we can pass in Washington that can change the weather? There’s no such thing,” Sen. Rubio said. See? He thinks this is about the number of sunny days. Or something.

Later in the debate Sen. Rubio expressed confidence in America’s ability to solve problems, saying there’s nothing we can’t do. Except limit carbon pollution? Sen. Rubio—and all the other do-nothing-on-climate candidates—is implying that the country that unleashed the IT revolution and put a man on the moon can’t cut pollution and dominate the clean energy market.

Sen. Rubio’s climate skepticism and pessimism are not shared by American voters, about 70% of whom want the next president to take action on climate change. They want leaders to shield their communities from devastating storms and wildfires. They want leaders to cut dangerous pollution and make the air safer to breathe. And they want leaders to expand the clean energy economy and the new jobs and money savings it brings—the Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon pollution, for instance, will help the average family save $100 a year on their energy bills.

This is the kind of leadership that will make our country stronger and our kids’ futures brighter. Marco Rubio won’t take us there.