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Inside the Greenhouse

January 2020

By Alicia Cannon, January 9, 2020


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

Congress Boosts FY20 Funding for Environment

Funding for several energy and environment programs were increased in the fiscal year 2020 budget passed last month by Congress.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received an additional $200 million, the Department of Energy received record high funding for renewable energy programs, and NASA and NOAA both received increased funding for climate science.

For the first time ever, the State and Foreign Operations spending bill included funding specifically for renewable energy and climate adaptation. The programs supported by this funding help vulnerable countries reduce emissions and increase resiliency in the face of natural disasters worsened by climate change. Funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was doubled.

A Month of Missed Opportunities

However, Congress missed a key opportunity to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by not extending or updating tax credits for solar energy, energy storage, offshore wind generation, and electric vehicles. Extending and updating these credits was widely thought of as the best opportunity to address the climate crisis in the 116th Congress. While there was a one-year extension for the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for onshore wind generation, Congress did not do enough to make a tangible difference in the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, tax credits were extended for biodiesel, biomass, and garbage incineration, without reciprocating for clean energy credits.

There are nine senators in the Climate Solutions Caucus

News and Updates

Wildfires Ravage Australia
Australia is facing its most devastating wildfire season in recorded history. The wildfires have already burned a region the size of New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island combined.

Greta Thunberg Awarded Person of the Year
Time Magazine chose 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year, crediting her with starting a climate movement that transcended generational divides across the world. Thunberg admonished world leaders at the U.N. Climate Summit in September and called for bold climate action.

Longest Climate Conference in History Ends in Frustration
The 25th Conference of Parties (COP25), a U.N. summit dedicated to addressing climate change, ended on Dec. 15 with international negotiators failing to make substantial progress. Talks were derailed by the U.S and other wealthy countries, who balked at the prospect of taking increased responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.

House Passes Coastal Resiliency Legislation
On Dec. 11, the House passed the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729), a package of coastal resiliency bills that seek to protect coastal and Great Lakes communities and shrinking wildlife populations from the effects of climate change.

Invisible Methane Leaks
Relaxed methane regulations are allowing invisible plumes of methane to be released into the atmosphere, harming nearby workers and residents and worsening the climate crisis. Read the full report from the New York Times.

Endless War, Endless Environmental Harm
Emily Wirzba and I cowrote an article highlighting how environmental harm and endless war are intrinsically connected.

Constituent Spotlight
Lorraine Myszkowski of Scottsdale, Arizona, wrote a powerful piece for FCNL on her experience explaining climate change to her children. She also thanked Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-6) for joining the Climate Solutions Caucus and implored him to pursue comprehensive solutions.

Action Alert
Join us at Spring Lobby Weekend 2020, March 28-31, where hundreds of young adults will come to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on climate change. Spread the word in your community!

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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.