Washington Weekly: April 28, 2021
The Michigan LCV Team is excited to announce a new weekly Federal Climate Newsletter recapping highlights in federal climate policy and connecting them back to Michigan.
Each issue will include a “Quick Hits” section that provides links to articles outlining high-level policy updates from the week, as well as a “Michigan Impact” section that will dive a bit more into one or two federal climate-related topics that directly impact Michigan. We hope that you enjoy this new Michigan LCV communication and welcome your feedback as we roll it out.
- President Biden convened a virtual climate summit last week with 40 world leaders where he announced that the U.S. will commit to cutting climate warming emissions in half by 2030. Here’s how that goal compares to other countries. In addition to discussing the impact of climate change on the planet and public health, leaders discussed the economic impact of climate change going forward. (Source NY Times).
- Our national partners at the League of Conservation Voters released a report yesterday assessing the Biden/Harris administration’s progress on climate work in their first 100 days. Bottom line, they’ve been impressed, announcing that it has been “the strongest first 100 days for climate and environmental justice we’ve ever seen.” (Source lcv.org).
- Michigan’s own Bryan Newland, of the Bay Mills Indian Community, was nominated to be Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior. Personnel is policy! (Source whitehouse.gov).
- President Biden will give his first speech to a joint session of Congress tonight. Here’s what to watch for. (Source nbcnews.com).
- Tomorrow (Thursday), members of the U.S. House (led by Representative Debbie Dingell), will introduce the THRIVE Act, a bold new vision to revive our economy while addressing these interlocking crises of climate change, racial injustice, public health, and economic inequity. (Source rollingstone.com).
Bottom Line, Up Front: While the world needs the U.S. to reassert itself as a global leader on climate, and President Biden may prove to be the exact person to achieve that goal, our success in doing so may well come down to the critical work that must be done at the state and local level.
Among all of the positive and hopeful messages that came out of President Biden’s climate summit last week, one simple, fundamental outlying question rose to the fore: At a time when bold climate action is imminently necessary this decade to avoid further irreparable harm our planet and people, can the U.S. back up these strong goals over the next decade given the stark shifts in climate policy over the course of the last 4 presidential administrations? The yoyo effect of U.S. climate policy between President’s Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden — most recently watching Biden position the U.S. as the global leader on the issue after watching President Trump roll back more than 125 environmental regulations over the past 4 years — is sometimes dizzying.
We think the answer is a resounding yes. Between nominees for cabinet and staff positions, a transformative American Jobs Plan, and strong support in Congress, President Biden is poised to continue his very strong first 100 days on climate policy and enact meaningful legislation that will undoubtedly make the U.S. a global leader on climate for decades to come. We will get an early look at the President’s priorities in his first joint address to Congress tonight, where he will likely spend significant time outlining his American Jobs Plan — which is centered around climate action, investments in low-income and communities of color, and creating good paying union jobs by upgrading our energy grid and investing in #ourwater.
There is a TON of advocacy happening around support of the American Jobs Plan, including organizing to make sure that Congress approaches any new investments or standards to be both transformational and equitable — it’s an exciting opportunity. But the glaring lack of consistent U.S. leadership over the past 30 years also highlights the undeniable importance of the role of state and local governments — and the business community — in this effort.
Through Governor Whitmer’s leadership (as shown by her MI Healthy Climate Plan and more), innovative programs by our towns and cities, and private sector momentum, Michigan has emerged as a national leader on climate. The states are where the rubber meets the road in terms of actually drawing down pollution and carbon emissions regardless of the federal scene, which makes Michigan LCV’s work with state decision-makers all the more important.
On the Lighter Side
While those of you with kids will hopefully have them asleep by the time the President takes the House floor at 9:00pm ET tonight, you may well be inspired by his rhetoric on climate policy. If so, we urge you to spend some time soon showing your kids this interactive, illustrated guide to climate change for kids.