Press Release: Gov. Inslee & Microsoft President Brad Smith Join NewDEAL Forum to Launch Climate Agenda 

 

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2020
Contact: Jonathon Dworkin, 202-660-1340 x5, jonathon@newdealleaders.org

 

Gov. Inslee & Microsoft President Brad Smith Join NewDEAL Forum to Launch Climate Agenda 

Policymakers and leading experts develop state and local solutions to combat global warming, grow a clean economy, and protect communities

Washington, DC – As the national political conventions get underway today, and the country’s major parties outline their visions for the nation’s future, the NewDEAL Forum released a detailed policy agenda for the country to tackle the urgent warnings from scientists around the world about the threats of climate change. In Policy Proposals for Growing a Clean Economy and Protecting Communities, the Forum’s Climate Change Policy Group provides a guide designed for state and local elected officials to build a safer, healthier, and more prosperous and just future, with a special focus on environmental justice. 

Emphasizing the essential role of leadership from outside Washington, the Group’s recommendations include calls for: 100 percent clean electricity; ambitious efforts to retrofit and electrify buildings; stronger fuel efficiency standards that end emissions from new trucks and are in line with Obama-era goals of about 54 miles/gallon by 2025; carbon pricing; and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. 

The document will be highlighted TODAY at 2 ET at a virtual Climate Solutions Forum featuring Washington Governor Jay Inslee, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Microsoft President Brad Smith, as well as the co-chairs of the Forum’s Climate Policy Working Group. They will discuss the outlook for public policies that are key to fighting global warming. There is still time to register here for that event by clicking here.

The report, which includes a range of transformative and incremental solutions, draws from the work of innovative policymakers, as well as input from leading think tanks and members of the private sector. Key strategies to address the impacts of climate change are accompanied by dozens of model programs, laws, and pieces of proposed legislation from across the country. In addition, the report examines comprehensive efforts of model cities and states, including Boise, ID, St. Petersburg, FL, Phoenix, AZ, Norfolk, VA, and the state of Wisconsin.

View the full recommendations here.

“Decades of rapidly increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, more frequent wildfires, and the dismaying combination of major floods in some areas with alarming droughts in others can make anyone pessimistic about the future,” writes Colorado Governor Jared Polis in an introduction to the recommendations. “The enclosed policy agenda and corresponding examples from dozens of states and cities provide much-needed optimism about our ability to stem the damage of climate change while building a more prosperous, equitable, and healthier society.” 

Polis is an Honorary Vice Chair of the Forum’s sister organization, The NewDEAL.

Acknowledging the lack of national leadership during the past four years, the report stresses that a “better, safer future isn’t just possible — it’s already happening in cities and states across America,” where “leaders have stepped in to set ambitious clean energy goals, expand solar access to low-income residents, clean up transportation, make polluters pay, and build greener, more energy-efficient cityscapes.” 

The group is co-chaired by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and Norfolk, VA Councilmember Andria McClellan, who have worked elected officials across the country, as well as experts from the Center for Climate and Energy Solution, Third Way, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate X Change, and other partner organizations to develop practical solutions that state and local officials can pursue.

“Forward-thinking leaders across the nation, many of whom partner with us as members of the NewDEAL network, along with concerned citizens, have shown that solutions exist to cut emissions and protect against climate change,” write Barnes and McClellan in the report. “They have built a blueprint for the kind of climate leadership needed to tackle an immense, planetary problem. This report gathers what they’ve learned. It pairs policy recommendations with real-life examples and best practices.”

Policy Agenda Summary

Recommendations focus on three key areas outlined below, with each section emphasizing the importance of environmental justice and of leaders recognizing the hugely disproportionate impacts that a changing climate and the pollution that causes it have long had on communities of color. The report makes clear that effects on these communities must be examined when crafting climate policies.

Reducing Emissions: To help the United States reach the vital goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030 and reaching zero new emissions by 2050, the Climate Policy Group recommends policies around: cleaner electricity, including requirements for utilities and grid modernization; smarter buildings through strict energy efficiency standards and retrofitting investments; smarter transportation through electric vehicle infrastructure and support for stronger national fuel efficiency standards; and investments in innovative technologies, such as advanced nuclear and carbon capture.

The report also highlights the importance of continuing the push to put a price on carbon so that polluters pay and resources are made available for clean investments. 

Building Resiliency: To protect communities from the inevitabilities of extreme weather, the report addresses options for financing resiliency projects, equitable planning that recognizes the substantial needs of traditionally disadvantaged communities, and specific steps to deal with flooding, wildfires, and extreme heat.

Fostering Widespread Support: The final section of the report deals with keys for leaders to rally their communities around solutions, with recommendations around: investing in the transition to a cleaner economy, including jobs and training for workers to transition better-paying employment; making environmental justice a cornerstone of the response to climate change; and engaging diverse constituents around common goals.

 

About the NewDEAL Forum

The NewDEAL Forum is a non-profit organization which identifies and promotes innovative, future-oriented state and local pro-growth progressive policies that can improve the lives of all Americans. By facilitating the identification and spread of policy ideas, the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster economic growth, reduce barriers to opportunity and promote good government in communities and states. The Forum advances its mission by researching, identifying, and sharing state and local pro-growth progressive policy ideas and bringing together public, private, and non-profit sector policy experts to exchange ideas and discuss the country’s biggest challenges.

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