Washington Weekly: April 6, 2022
This Week’s Headlines
- SCOTUS Confirmation: After the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and debate, a Senate vote on Judge Kantanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court is expected on Thursday. While many GOP Senators – including Senators Lyndsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton – continue to say the quiet part out loud when it comes to Judge Jackson’s nomination and qualifications as the first African American women nominated to serve on the court, Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins have said they will vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee.
- IPCC Report: The latest climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that carbon emissions must peak by 2025 and that we must halve emissions by 2030 based on 2019 levels to have a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Given political divisions and calls to increase fossil fuel production, this warning is the most alarming yet from the IPCC.
- Changing of the Guard: Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R – St. Joseph) announced his retirement after a 36-year Congressional career. Upton’s retirement comes as no big surprise after Michigan’s redistricting process resulted in a new district that pitted him against fellow GOP incumbent Congressman Bill Huizenga. After Upton voted to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, the former president has vocally attacked Upton and endorsed Huizenga in his 2022 re-election bid.
A Deeper Dive
Let us know if you’ve heard this before: The United Nations released a report stating that the global community is drastically behind in reducing emissions in time to address climate change. As U.N Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated, “the jury has reached a verdict and it is damning. This report from the IPCC is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.”
The good news is that this report is focused on mitigating climate change, and concluded we have all the tools and technology necessary to avoid the worst climate disasters. But we must take action.
In a rare move from often reserved scientists, the report directly called out the role of oil and gas lobbyists and their stranglehold on politics as a reason the world is failing to meet climate goals. Seemingly proving these scientists correct, governments from around the world – including the United States and petrostates like Saudi Arabia – struck this language from the summary of the report. While the report itself is not subject to political manipulation, the summary for policymakers has been watered down by interests seeking to undermine the reports conclusions.
Reacting to the news, the League of Conservation Voters wrote:
“We are encouraged to see the IPCC state clearly that clean, renewable energy must power our future, and that we must severely curtail our dependence on fossil fuels and false solutions like unconstrained use of carbon capture technology, hydrogen, and biofuels…We must live up to our climate commitments, including ending fossil fuel subsidies and canceling the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure while supporting a just transition for workers currently employed in the fossil fuel industry.”
Read their full statement here.
Michigan LCV’s Top Takeaways:
- Global emissions must halve by 2030 from 2019 levels. Updating previous goals to halve emissions from 2005 levels.
- The path to limiting warming to 1.5 C will close within 2.5 years unless emissions start dropping now.
- The technologies to transition to renewable energy already exist, and carbon offsets, natural or technological, cannot replace drastic cuts in fossil fuel use.
- There is no room in the carbon budget for any new fossil fuel infrastructure.
- A stark warning for investors: there will be $1-4 trillion in stranded fossil fuel assets if the world is to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement
In short, the U.N. report is the latest piece of evidence that Washington, D.C must deliver on climate jobs and justice legislation.
The Michigan LCV Difference
Michigan LCV Federal Government Affairs Director Bentley Johnson was featured in a Lansing State Journal op-ed this week that highlighted Michiganders who are working to address the most pressing environmental issues facing our state.
Bentley discussed the importance of looking at the “big picture” when working to address climate change, specifically how the history of poor performance and sky-high energy costs charged by Michigan’s investor-owned utility companies are worsening the impacts of climate change and the importance of investing in renewable and clean energy grid and economy.
You can check out the full article here (which also ran in several other outlets throughout the state). Bentley’s piece is at the very bottom, so make sure to scroll all the way down!
In other news, the Michigan LCV team and Blue Green Alliance are hosting a panel discussion on April 11, 2022 at 10 a.m. to discuss the importance of clean energy investments and the opportunities to make such investments provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The panel will feature representatives from Blue Green Alliance, the Green Door Initiative, the SEIU, Michigan LCV’s Hudson Villenueve, and Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang.
Be on the lookout for information on how you can sign up to attend the April 11th event!
Thanks for reading, and have a great week!