Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.
Celebrating Rep. McEachin’s Life and Work
Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04), a staunch advocate for environmental justice, passed away on Nov. 28. He first took office in 2017 and worked tirelessly to ensure that infrastructure projects would not disproportionately harm low-income communities and people of color.
In 2021, he introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021/S. 872) with Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03).
In honor of Rep. McEachin’s legacy, lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis sent a letter to House Democratic leadership on Nov. 30, urging them to pass the Environmental Justice for All Act before the end of the year.
In November, hundreds of advocates at FCNL’s Quaker Public Policy Institute lobbied for the Environmental Justice for All Act. We hold Rep. McEachin’s family and loved ones in the Light, and we will continue to build support for legislation protecting communities from environmental discrimination.
UN Climate Conference Focuses on Climate Assistance
As developing countries increasingly suffer the worst consequences of the climate crisis, western nations should take more responsibility in providing aid. Recent events underscore the urgency of this push: This summer, historic flooding impacted 33 million people in Pakistan. Meanwhile, droughts and food insecurity put 15 million inhabitants of Eastern Africa at risk.
During COP27, the United States pledged to give $50 million to the Climate Adaptation Fund, designed to assist vulnerable communities with climate adaptation and resilience programs. Overall, U.N. members pledged more than $230 million to the fund.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres also announced at the conference a $3.1 billion plan supported by 50 countries to bolster early warning systems for natural disasters.
In November, FCNL constituents held 160 lobby visits urging action for environmental justice.
News and Updates
Permitting Reform Left Out of Year-End Defense Legislation
After passage of the Inflation Reduction Act this summer, Sens. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Joe Manchin (WV) agreed to expedite the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects. Their efforts, however, have stalled. Permitting reform was going to be attached to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, but opposition from both parties resulted in its exclusion. Progressive Democrats opposed the proposal, citing the negative impacts on the frontline communities. Republicans did so for political reasons. We will continue our work to ensure that any changes to the permitting process come with robust environmental justice reforms.
Administration Reveals New Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
The Biden administration has launched a new Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, which allows the public to identify the communities most impacted by global warming. The tool is part of Justice40, an initiative to dedicate 40% of federal climate and clean energy funding to underserved communities. Justice40 will increase the visibility of communities that deserve greater attention from the federal government due to ongoing environmental and human harm.
FCNL Advocates Lobby for Environmental Justice
Thank you to everyone who attended last month’s Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute. We enjoyed meeting you in person and online. Click here to watch recordings of this year’s highlights. With 340 constituents from 43 states, we were able to build on the momentum of recent climate wins.
What We’re Reading:
- UN finds that 5 billion people will face water insecurity by 2050
- President Biden pledges to protect Avi Kwa Ame as a National Monument in Nevada
- International community fails to protect the Antarctic Ocean
- Biden Administration invests $1.5 billion in national labs for low-carbon technologies research