NRDC Action Fund President: Trump is Big Polluters’ Dream Candidate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Denis Dison, NRDC Action Fund | (202) 280-0018, [email protected]

WASHINGTON (October 19, 2016) – NRDC Action Fund President Rhea Suh issued the following statement ahead of tonight’s final presidential debate:

“When it comes to combating climate change and protecting our environment, we hardly need another debate to help us make up our minds. The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could not be more stark. Trump’s agenda is a big polluters’ wish-list; he’s their dream candidate. He has turned his back on the undeniable havoc that climate change is wreaking and vowed to reverse the unprecedented progress that America and the community of nations are making against the central environmental challenge of our time. Clinton understands the threat of a warming planet and she will fight it. She understands our obligation to protect future generations from these growing dangers and will act on Day One to avert the worst impacts of climate catastrophe. That’s the clear choice we face on November 8. The stakes for the country, and the world, could hardly be higher.”

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The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund therefore needs to be identified as from the NRDC Action Fund.

We Want a Cleaner, Healthier Futuro

One bright spot in this dark presidential election is the political energy it has unleashed in the Latino community. In the streets, on social media, and (ojala) at the polls, the country is seeing that Latinos are a force to be reckoned with. We are organized, values-driven, and committed to creating a better world for our children.

Nowhere is this truer than in our defense of the environment. In the 17 years that I have been working in the environmental movement, I have witnessed Latino leadership grow around this common concern and common vision for the planet. With this current political climate before us, it’s important to take a look at why this support exists and how Latino leadership can make a difference.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Voces Verdes, Nuestro Futuro: Climate Change and U.S. Latinos, takes a closer look at the passion with which Latinos care about climate change, how the community is impacted, and how Latinos can help spur progress.

Latinos are united in our passion for climate action. Support for government action to limit the impacts of global warming remains very high and more and more, Latino leadership is carrying the day on climate and clean energy. In poll after poll, Latino support for the environment outstrips responses from other ethnic groups and importantly, crosses party lines.

There are at least two main reasons why Latinos are ahead of the curve in their commitment to fighting global warming. The first is geographic vulnerability: More than 60 percent of U.S. Latinos reside in Florida, New York, California, and Texas, states that are already seeing dangerous heat waves, flooding, and air pollution related to climate change. Environmental injustice exacerbates this vulnerability, with Hispanic individuals 21 percent more likely than non-Hispanic whites to live in heat islands and three times more likely to die from asthma than other ethnic groups.

Socioeconomic concerns heighten the Latino community’s vulnerability to extreme, unpredictable climate events. Because Latinos are likely to work outdoors?—?making up over 48 percent of the nation’s farm workers and close to 30 percent of construction workers?—?a heat wave that’s uncomfortable for some can prove deadly for them. Latinos are also three times more likely to die on the job due to heat-related medical problems. And when faced with a dangerous climate event, such as a string of smoggy days or an extreme flood, lack of access to resources makes it harder to bounce back. For the mother who gets fired for taking too many sick days to care for her asthmatic son, or the uninsured father who lands in the emergency room after a hurricane, extreme climate events can push their family from striving to struggling.

Latinos are also united by a vision for a more just, sustainable planet. We know that the transition to a low-carbon economy is already creating jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and technology, and are well positioned to benefit from that expansion of opportunity. At least 23,000 Latinos currently work in the solar industry, an industry that saw 123 percent growth between 2010 and 2015, and is growing! Clean energy and energy efficiency can also return cost savings and greater financial security, with a retrofit saving the typical household $437 per year. Add to that smarter urban design and greater health access, and it is clear that climate action provides gains across the board.

Hurricane Matthew causing havoc in the Southeast and wildfires scorching the West are vivid reminders of the kind of damage that climate change will cause and underscore that the need for climate action is urgent. Actions like President Obama’s Clean Power Plan which would for the first time limits carbon pollution from power plants, and the Paris Accord?—?the strongest-ever international treaty, have put us on a path to constructive cooperation. Our next president has the opportunity to build on these groundbreaking policies to clean up our air, shore up our climate and jumpstart our green economy… or dismantle them.

We have 27 million eligible Latino voters who see the impacts of climate change in places like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and across the eastern seaboard who know climate change is real and want leaders who are ready to act. Our influence should not be underestimated and our position should be understood: We stand for climate action, and we want it now.

Adrianna Quintero is Special Adviser to the NRDC Action Fund.

NRDC Action Fund: Clinton has the right climate solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Denis Dison, NRDC Action Fund | [email protected], (202) 717-8293

WASHINGTON (October 11, 2016) – Secretary Hillary Clinton plans to appear today in Florida with former Vice President Al Gore, who will discuss the urgent threat posed by climate change and lay out the high stakes of November’s election, the Clinton campaign said.

NRDC Action Fund President Rhea Suh made the following statement:

“How we respond to climate change will profoundly influence the quality of life of our children and their children. Sadly, the candidates for president are worlds apart. Donald Trump can’t decide whether climate change is a hoax or a joke. He’s turned his back on the growing perils of climate chaos and would reverse the unprecedented progress we are making to combat climate change. Hillary Clinton understands the threat. She’s made sound proposals to fight it and grow the clean energy economy. And she’ll build on the climate progress we’re making. That’s the climate leadership we need now.”

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The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund therefore needs to be identified as from the NRDC Action Fund.

About Pence’s “War on Coal”

At Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, alleged that over the past seven and a half years, President Obama has waged a “war on coal.” To hear Gov. Pence tell it, government regulation has caused the decline of coal mining communities across America, and a Trump administration will swoop in to save these communities. The problem is, neither claim is true, and both are dangerous.

Let’s clear the record. For decades, the coal industry has faced economic challenges ranging from mechanization to corporate mismanagement to unstoppable market forces, including access to much cheaper natural gas. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has, out of pure political expediency, preyed on the understandable concerns of coal communities. It’s a deplorable tactic that provides no proposals to help the employees of a struggling industry transition to a more sustainable energy economy, a shift most Americans want in order to protect today’s children from the worst impacts of climate change.

The truth is the coal industry’s decline has spanned more than five presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, whose administrations saw among the most precipitous loss of coal jobs in U.S. history.

At Tuesday’s debate, Gov. Pence repeatedly claimed voters should elect Donald Trump in order to end the Obama administration’s so-called “war on coal”. Translation: A Trump-Pence administration would end pollution limits on dirty coal-fired power plants, endangering health and accelerating climate change.

On the campaign trail, Trump himself repeatedly vows to bring back coal by eliminating environmental and worker safety regulations he erroneously claims are killing the industry. But if Mr. Trump and Gov. Pence think they are making a clever power play for swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, they’re plain wrong. Voters can tell when politicians stoke their fears for political gain. Plus, Pennsylvanians and Ohioans alike overwhelmingly favor clean energy like solar and wind over dirty energy sources.

In the battle for America’s energy future, Hillary Clinton is the real fighter. In addition to her plan to dramatically expand clean energy production, her $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities would build on President Obama’s efforts to provide miners and their families with alternatives to a dirty and dangerous coal industry. Clinton’s plan would award competitive grants in areas like entrepreneurship and small business development, housing, and education and job training programs. Coal communities deserve this kind of assistance as America transitions to a cleaner energy future.

Gov. Pence should abandon the tall tale of the “war on coal.” In Pennsylvania alone, the clean energy industry employs almost as many Americans as the entire coal industry does nationwide, and voters know it. If Gov. Pence cared about the nearly 70,000 hard-working Americans whose livelihoods in the coal industry are at risk in a changing 21st century economy, he would drop the political charade, quit pandering to the Koch brothers and the GOP donor class, and focus on real solutions to help communities move forward.

Beyond Blue and Red, Latino Voters Are Thinking Green

alternative_energiesWhen I began trying to rally Latino leaders around climate change in 2004, I raised a few eyebrows: “Does she know the number of Latinos without health insurance? Don’t Latinos really only rally around immigration reform? Aren’t jobs and the economy so much more important?

With the plethora of important issues facing Latino communities, I wasn’t surprised that the informal consensus was climate change was not a Latino issue. Among Latinos, however, we knew we cared deeply.

Today, there is new consensus: Our issues are interrelated, and climate change is one of them.

Polls from the past few years show that Latinos have consistently been ahead of the curve in understanding the impact and risk that climate change presents. For many striving to build a solid future for their families, living paycheck-to-paycheck or unable to access health insurance, an extreme weather event could be what pushes them over the edge.

The impacts are also real. One in two Latinos still lives in counties that frequently violate air quality standards. Higher temperatures lead to smoggier days that will only make this worse and accelerate the already evident uptick in asthma attacks and the impacts on families like missed work and school days.

Latino workers are also heavily impacted since we make up a large part of the outdoor workforce in the construction, agricultural and landscaping trades which are all more likely to be exposed to poor air quality and dangerous or even deadly heat waves.
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