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Inside the Greenhouse

October 2019

By Alicia Cannon, Emily Wirzba, October 4, 2019


Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s environmental work, ways to engage members of Congress, and stories that impact our work.

Climate on the Global Stage

Washington, D.C. was inundated with climate actions this month. 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg delivered a landmark speech and testified before Congress on Sept. 18. She implored Congress to take immediate action on climate change. On Sept. 20, over 4 million people took part in climate protests around the globe, calling on world leaders at the U.N. Climate Summit to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis.

While the U.N. Climate Summit failed to produce the wide-reaching results some had hoped for, the week of climate action elevated the issue to the global stage and brought new commitments and initiatives. Read more about our experience at the D.C. Climate March.

Rollbacks, Reversals, and Revocations

The Trump administration continues its reversal of critical environmental protections. On Sept. 4, the White House announced that it was weakening a federal rule meant to increase the use of energy-efficient lightbulbs. On Sept. 12, the administration repealed crucial clean water protections that limited pollutants in streams and wetlands. And on Sept. 17, California’s authority over auto emissions standards was revoked by the federal government–an unprecedented move that brings nationwide repercussions.

There are currently 64 members of the Climate Solutions Caucus.

News and Updates

Passage of Climate Bills
The House passed two offshore drilling bills this month: the Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act of 2019 (H.R. 205) and the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941). The House also passed the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146) which bans drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. All three bills had bipartisan support.

New Carbon Pricing Legislation
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) introduced the MARKET CHOICE Act (H.R. 4520). This is the seventh carbon pricing bill under consideration in Congress and the fourth with bipartisan support.

The Senate's Own Climate Solutions Caucus
A new Senate Climate Solutions Caucus was created by Sens. Chris Coons (DE) and Mike Braun (IN). Pending approval, the caucus would be the first bipartisan Senate group dedicated to climate change discussions.

Faith Community Backs Clean Energy Tax Credits

Tandem Friends School students on the Capitol Steps

Tandem Friends School students after a successful lobby visit. Emily Sajewski / FCNL

FCNL was one of 17 faith organizations that wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on Sept. 10, asking them to prioritize clean energy tax incentives as they advance tax policy this year.

Oceans are Warming and Acidic
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) released a sobering report on the state of our oceans and cryosphere. “The consequences for nature and humanity are sweeping and severe,” said IPCC vice-chair Ko Barrett.

Constituent Spotlight:
Middle schoolers from Tandem Friends School lobbied Rep. Denver Riggleman’s (VA-5) staff on climate change. They asked him to join the Climate Solutions Caucus. The group shared hand-written letters explaining their concern over the climate crisis. Within two days, the congressman decided to join the Climate Solutions Caucus. Welcome, Rep. Riggleman, and thank you students!

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Alicia Cannon

  • Program Assistant, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Alicia is the Program Assistant for Sustainable Energy and Environment. She advocates for the preservation of the environment, recognition of climate change, and the enactment of legislation that promotes sustainable solutions to our current climate crisis. She meets members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to promote FCNL’s environmental policy.

Emily Wirzba

  • Legislative Manager, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Emily Wirzba leads FCNL’s lobbying work to achieve bipartisan recognition of climate change and action in Congress. Emily meets with members of Congress and their staff to promote FCNL's environmental priorities. She also works closely with FCNL's network across the country to organize constituents to lobby, write, and advocate for bipartisan environmental action in Congress. She currently serves as co-chair of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community's Energy and Ecology Working Group.