Our Climate develops young leaders to effectively advocate for science-based and equitable climate policies. As our team of trained and capable leaders has grown, so too have opportunities to secure proactive policy wins on the state level. Several states are well positioned to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution in 2019, and a number of states with newly elected pro-conservation legislative majorities are now considering the policy. With federal climate action unlikely before 2021, state and regional efforts to reduce emissions and invest in a just transition to clean energy are more important than ever. Additionally, state-level policy passage in 2019 and 2020 will provide a model for national policy and create momentum toward additional state and federal level wins.
OVERVIEW OF PRIORITY CAMPAIGNS
Our Climate is focused on the following state campaigns in 2019. The State Carbon Pricing Network can provide a more thorough analysis of current and emerging state efforts.
Ready To Win: States that are well positioned to win in 2019, and where we have on-the-ground capacity.
- Oregon: With a pro-conservation supermajority in both houses of the legislature and a governor eager to build her climate legacy, prospects of passing cap-and-invest legislation have never been so high.
- Massachusetts: The State Senate unanimously approved a price on carbon during the 2018 session, and 65 House members have already co-sponsored 2019 legislation to put a fee on pollution.
- New York: Now that the State Senate has flipped, support for the Climate and Community Protection Act, which would mandate an economy-wide transition to 100% clean energy and pave the way for a price on greenhouse gas pollution, seems to be at a tipping point.
- Washington: Our work on Initiative 1631 developed a strong base of student leaders who are eager for the state to pass bold and equitable policy--and we now know that young voters across the state overwhelmingly support putting a price on carbon. The legislative climate policy agenda is still evolving and we are committed to working with our allies to win policy that holds polluters accountable.
Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maryland are also actively considering state carbon pricing policies. We continue to communicate regularly with coalition leads to identify opportunities to support these campaigns.
- Virginia: Though Governor Northam has expressed support for regional cap-and-trade programs, the legislature has not approved Virginia’s participation, nor taken meaningful steps to hold polluters accountable. As the effort to secure legislative approval for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative advances, our student leaders are organizing a Youth Lobby Day to ask lawmakers to take action on climate.
- Pennsylvania: A coalition of organizations recently filed a petition for rulemaking that would require the state to implement an enforceable cap on carbon pollution; it is currently under review. Governor Wolf has also committed to join the Transportation Climate Initiative (more on that below).
- Colorado: With a newly elected pro-conservation majority and a governor who ran on a clean energy platform, environmental advocates plan to introduce legislation to cap carbon pollution.
National & Regional Opportunities: States and regions that are influencing the national dialogue around climate action and carbon pricing.
- Transportation Climate Initiative: A coalition of Northeast governors has committed to cap transportation emissions, which would replicate the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which caps emissions only from the electricity sector. The regional campaign is still relatively nascent but gaining steam quickly. This effort would complement economy-wide state-level policies.
- Florida: Arguably the most politically important state when it comes to addressing climate change, we have hired an organizer to mobilize youth support for federal carbon pricing in key congressional districts. Our short-term goal is to secure strategic endorsements and ensure lawmakers are hearing from young constituents about the need to price carbon.
OUR CLIMATE 2019 OBJECTIVES
Our Climate plays a vital role advancing carbon pricing by lending energy and support to state-level efforts, while amplifying youth support for polluter accountability. Climate legislative champions affirm how valuable our leaders’ advocacy and voices are in the ongoing fight to make polluters pay. We advance our vision with two key programs:
Leadership Development: Our Fellowship, Field Representative and Millennial Advocacy Board programs recruit, train and support young leaders to become effective advocates, while directly contributing to state campaigns. We have organizers on the ground in each of our “Ready to Win” states, along with teams of paid student leaders. 2019 objectives include:
- Support and empower 250 new young leaders through our Fellowship, Field Representative and Millennial Advocacy Board programs;
- Train 1,500 young leaders through campus and community workshops, summits and webinars;
- Cultivate existing student leaders and support an active alumni network so that our leaders continue to develop their skills, establish important connections with peers, and learn about exciting opportunities in the field.
Student Advocacy: In close collaboration with state coalition partners, our young leaders mobilize their peers, engage in legislative advocacy efforts, and publish media pieces to build public support for comprehensive climate policy. 2019 objectives include:
- Hold 225 in-person conversations with elected officials in target states through Youth Lobby Days, in-district meetings, and group visits to the Capitol; facilitate an additional 900 conversations via calls, letters, and digital actions;
- Publish at least 50 Letters to the Editor, op-eds and blog posts; generate social media content that reaches at least 2.5 million viewers;
- Create and distribute educational content via web, social media and outreach events to expand our reach and mobilize at least 5,000 young leaders to take concrete action.
In 2019, we will strengthen and scale our leadership development and advocacy programs to accomplish three overarching goals: 1) to carry proposed policies over the finish line; 2) to creatively advance the conversation around climate policy in politically strategic areas; and 3) develop a deeper bench of young climate policy advocates who effectively participate in the democratic process.