Hillary Clinton: The Leader We Need

Over the next two weeks, Republican and Democratic leaders will gather in Cleveland and Philadelphia for the quadrennial exercise in partisan persuasion and political soapboxing we call the national presidential nominating conventions.

Behind the boisterous clamor for air time and the furious competition for votes, the conventions serve a high purpose: to lay out competing visions of our country’s future so that we might decide, come Election Day, which road holds out greater promise for our nation.

The season can feel divisive, but one thing that unites us is our common dependence on the health of the natural systems upon which all life depends.

Barbara Kinney, Hillary for America

Barbara Kinney, Hillary for America

Unfortunately, our politics doesn’t reflect that fact?—?far from it. After a century in which both parties, to varying degrees, recognized the need for responsible environmental safeguards, we’ve seen the reckless abandonment of that core American value by congressional leaders in the GOP.

That’s why the NRDC Action Fund endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on May 31. In the weeks since then, the case for Clinton has become stronger by the day. She’s demonstrated a deep understanding of the environmental challenges we face and a commitment to taking the action we need. The contrast between her party’s record and her opponent’s could not be more stark.

When Rep. Bill Johnson, R-OH., called the work of the Environmental Protection Agency “un-American” during a House hearing last week, he was merely putting into words what many of his GOP colleagues have repeatedly expressed through votes that would undermine protections for our water, air, wildlife and lands and cripple our efforts to fight global climate change.

Far from repudiating those measures and claims, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, has added fuel to the fire,denouncing climate change as a hoax?—?except when rising seas threaten his golf courses. He’s said it was invented by the Chinese, only to claim later he was joking. If elected, Trump would be the only national leader in the world to reject what the science tells us about climate change. And he’s threatened to tear up or “renegotiate” the global agreement among the United States and more than 185 other countries in Paris last December to hasten the shift away from the dirty fossil fuels that are driving climate change and toward cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.

We don’t need to turn back the clock on hard won gains in the fight against climate change. We need to move forward with concrete action that turns the promise of Paris into the progress we need.

We need a president who will build on the advances President Obama has made to cut the carbon footprint from our cars, trucks and workplaces. We need to clean up our dirty power plants. We need to invest in efficiency, so we can do more with less waste, build the world’s best all-electric and hybrid cars and power them with more clean energy from the wind and sun. We need to get our government out of the oil, gas and coal business?—?for good. And we need to ensure environmental justice for every American.

That, in large part, describes the policies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic candidate the NRDC Action Fund has endorsed.

She understands what it means to have just finished the hottest June ever recorded in the contiguous United States?—?3.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average. She knows its no hoax that last year was the hottest since global record keeping began in 1880, the first five months of this year were hotter still, and 19 of the hottest years on record have occurred in the past two decades. She understands that, when the most authoritative climate scientists in the world tell us we’re facing a crisis, it’s time to stop making jokes and start making progress.

She understands, too, the folly of investing, as a nation, in the very dirty fuels we know we have to move away from to protect our children from the worst impacts of climate change. She’ll back Obama’s freeze on new leases for coal production on federal lands, knowing existing leases can produce coal for many years to come. She’ll protect precious Arctic and Atlantic waters from the risk of a blowout or catastrophic spill, by taking those waters off the table for oil and gas development. And she’ll work with those of us calling for an end to new leases on all federal lands and offshore waters for the production of fossil fuels, appreciating that, here again, existing leases can produce such fuels far into our future, while we transition to cleaner, safer ways to power economic growth.

Finally, she’s committed to environmental justice for every American.

We all pay a price for dirty air and water, polluted lands and wildlife at risk. Some of us, though, bear a greater burden?—?people living in low income communities, African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color.

At the NRDC Action Fund, we reject the notion that some Americans are entitled to greater environmental protections than others simply because of their race, neighborhood or income. We believe the pursuit of justice lies at the heart of who we are and what we aspire to become as Americans. We believe Hillary Clinton has shown, throughout the course of her public career, a willingness to fight to expand justice and equity for all of our people, to stand and take care of our own.

The stakes in this election are high, for our country and all we hold dear. We are working at the NRDC Action Fund to restore the bipartisan majority for common sense environmental safeguards. We look to the day this becomes, once again, not an issue that divides us red state and blue, but a core value that unites us as Americans.

Until that day, we’ll need someone to stand strong against the special interests in the fossil fuel industry and their handmaidens on Capitol Hill. We’ll need a leader who takes seriously our obligation to protect future generations from the growing dangers of climate change. We’ll need someone who shares our belief in environmental justice for every American.

That candidate is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

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

Map showing lead rule violations by people served. | Source: NRDC

Map showing lead rule violations by people served. | Source: NRDC

Water violations go beyond Flint – Eighteen million Americans are living in communities where the water systems violate federal lead rules. (CNN)

The 2016 DNC platform is strong on climate – Former EPA head Carol Browner calls Democratic platform draft on climate change the “boldest climate vision ever to appear in our party’s platform.” (Politico)

Republicans for climate action Despite the GOP’s climate-denying frontrunner Donald Trump, about half of Republicans believe the climate is changing and want the federal government to take action. (Morning Consult)

Virginia is moving to act on climate – Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order to reduce carbon emissions in Virginia, telling agencies to find ways to decrease carbon emissions. (AP)

Solar energy on the rise – For first time in history, more solar systems came online than natural gas power plants in the US, marking the beginning of solar’s most prosperous decade ever. (The Guardian)

North American leaders make climate action a priority – President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau set a goal to up the percent of electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2025. (New York Times)

Trumps energy plan is bad for climate and the economy – Trump would accelerate climate changes threatening Americans and the American economy with his energy plan. (The Conversation)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in California closing

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, California’s soon-to-be-closed last power plant | Photo by: Pacific Gas and Electric

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

The Trump threat – Republicans are worried Donald Trump is tilting the closest Senate races away from the GOP during a cycle when the election map already had them playing defense. (Politico)

California pushes for further commitment to climate change Governor Jerry Brown announced he wants to extend California’s climate law beyond 2020. (LA Times)

Bringing down the House energy bill – Environmental groups are urging the U.S. Senate not to work with the House after “controversial and problematic provisions” were added to the energy bill. (The Hill)

Trading nuclear for clean energy – With the closing of California’s last nuclear plant, wind and solar energy are on the rise, cutting emissions and costs. (The Hill)

L.A.’s heatwave threatens communities of color – L.A.’s current heatwave means dirty diesel fuel will burn in communities of color without the residents’ say so. (Grist)

Kerry’s Arctic climate message – After visiting the warming Arctic, Secretary of State John Kerry says more needs to be done to combat climate change. (Washington Post)

Teaching climate change –  Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is pushing for a climate curriculum for people of all ages as we reach the first anniversary of the Pope’s vital message on climate action. (The Hill)

Wildfires in the West – Western states such as California and Utah are feeling the effects of global warming as wildfire seasons increase in length. (ThinkProgress)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

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

Paul Ryan announces proposals that seek to find common ground with Donald Trump. Photo: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Paul Ryan announces proposals that seek to find common ground with Donald Trump. Photo: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

#NeverTrump Will stark differences on the issue of climate change between the candidates unify the electorate against Trump? (The Hill)

Paul Ryan vs. the planet – House Speaker Paul Ryan released a plan to roll back Obama’s signature reforms including the Clean Power Plan. Ryan’s plan is an attempt to find common ground between the GOP and the country’s Climate-Denier-in-Chief, Donald Trump. (Washington Post)

How Clinton won California — With last-minute endorsements, including from the NRDC Action Fund, Hillary won the California primary by a 13-point margin. (Washington Post)

Supreme Court rejects challenge to Obama air pollution rule, again – In a big win for the Obama administration (and American families), the Supreme Court refused to hear yet another request from states to overturn the EPA’s 2012 mercury rule. (The Hill)

Transportation is now America’s biggest climate problem – For the first time in over 35 years, America’s cars, trucks, and planes emit more carbon dioxide than its power plants do. (Vox)

The world nears peak fossil fuels for electricity – As renewable energy becomes cheaper and cheaper, global demand for fossil fuel electricity production will continue to fall. What happens when our cars go electric, too? (Bloomberg)

Guest Opinion: Take Trump Threat Seriously

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Many thought Donald Trump would be dumped in the GOP primary, but instead he triumphed.   Trump passed two big milestones last month as he clinched the GOP nomination and then pulled even with Hillary Clinton in national polling. We would be foolish to also underestimate the threat he presents in the general.

Give the Donald some credit (in case he didn’t do enough of that himself)—a man that few took seriously a year ago could be sitting in the Oval Office a year from now.  This would be a disaster for the country generally and the environment especially. A lot has already changed since May, but it’s still worth looking at how he reached these milestones to prepare for what might come next.

First, the nomination.  Let’s face it, for this candidate—who is historically neither a party man nor a clear conservative—to seize the party’s mantle is nothing short of a palace coup.  He held a mere plurality of support among Republican voters until the last of his opponents dropped out and faced much hostility from most of the party establishment.  He did it by exciting great intensity among those conservative supporters who did flock to him and by drawing in a segment of white working class independents and Democrats who might have gone elsewhere in a different political climate. 

It’s easy to find Democrats and independents deploring this turn of events, but it’s remarkable just how many prominent Republicans share in the shock (and awe).  Objections have come not only from compassionate conservatives such as David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, and Michael Gerson, but also from hard right figures like George Will, Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson.  Former nominee Mitt Romney has voiced all-out opposition and no living former Republican president has endorsed (OK , there are only two and they’re both Bushes; but still…).  The #NeverTrump movement didn’t prevent Trump from achieving presumptive status as the nominee, but his recent controversies have given proof to their concerns.
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