Meet a CCANer: Paolo Mutia

Paolo is the Central Virginia Organizer at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Here’s his story.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I was born in the Philippines, but Richmond has helped me to become the person I am today. I learned at a young age what it meant to be poor in America and how racial and socioeconomic disparities affected the lives of youth in my neighborhood. Growing up in America, I constantly hear about the disastrous effects of climate change miles across the ocean in my home country, the Philippines. I hear about the fear of typhoons coming for my friends and family back at home. At a young age, I learned and realized the systemic privileges that I had based on being Asian, the color of my skin, my immigration status, and the privilege I hold by living in America. 

What impacts of climate change currently hit home to you?

Growing up in the Philippines, I didn’t really know what the word “climate change” meant back then, all I knew was that sometimes I would wake up and go downstairs to see my home completely flooded. And for my family that was normal. It was reality we faced on a daily basis. Whenever I see flooded communities broadcasted on the news I am always taken back to my childhood home in the Philippines. 

What has inspired you most working with CCAN? 

CCAN is an organization that understands that the climate crisis is a human issue. It’s exciting to be a part of an organization that acknowledges the layers of injustice and systemic racism that have led us to this point. The work CCAN has done to advocate and empower frontline communities to be hit first and the worst by climate change has inspired me to keep pushing in our environmental movement. We continue to grow to be a more diverse and powerful voice. 

What have you contributed to bringing about a clean energy revolution that you are most proud of? 

When I was little I remember growing up in an old house over at the east end of Richmond. There were times where the energy bills trumped the rent cost, times where we would have no heat in the winter. By sharing my story to people, I am able to help bring to light the energy burden issue in Virginia that needs to be taken into account in the clean energy revolution. 

What do you hope to see happen in terms of climate in the next year?

I hope that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Bill will pass in Virginia with many of the equity measures still in place to protect frontline communities impacted by climate change. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working on climate change?

I love to cook with my friends, collect recipes from everyone I meet, and play with my Goldendoodle, Kai. 

Who would you high five?

Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing. I recommend you read his book “Rules for Radicals.”

Letter from the Director: A World in Shock

Dear friends, 

The year 2019 began with the world in shock. Scientists said we had barely 10 years to cut carbon emissions in half if we wanted to avoid a full-on climate catastrophe. Then, just 12 months later, the year ended with Swedish schoolgirl and climate activist – Greta Thunberg – being named Time Magazine’s “person of the year.” 

A lot happened in between. And the Chesapeake Climate Action Network is proud to have played our role, both regionally and nationally, in the climate movement with several major victories. As the year comes to an end, won’t you make a gift to keep us going? Honestly, we’re tired but inspired and soon-to-be-recharged to fight for more wins in the new year.

It’s clear that climate has now become a global issue. In 2019, the Sunrise Movement really took off, calling for a Green New Deal. Then climate activists in the UK shut down roads and airports to protest inaction there, declaring themselves the “Extinction Rebellion.” Their movement quickly spread to America. And throughout this year, Thunberg led students worldwide in “Fridays For Future” strikes, culminating in upwards of 8 million strikers across the world on September 20. 

Our movement is BIG now. A full 76 percent of the US public believes climate change is a major problem, according to a recent Washington Post poll. 

Now, what do we do about it? Well, in 2019, CCAN joined the mayor of Washington, DC in passing a 100% clean energy bill that will power Congress and the White House with wind and solar power by 2032. We passed the sweeping “Clean Energy Jobs Act” in Maryland. And we continued to work successfully to stop two major fracked-gas pipelines in Virginia. 

Not to mention, we worked with U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in grilling former ExxonMobil scientists in a hearing focused on the company’s 30-year effort to deny climate change and harm the public.

What’s next for us in 2020? A lot. Stay tuned for new campaigns for radical carbon reduction policies regionally and nationally. Plus more work to hold Exxon accountable. 

But we need you. None of our work is possible without the financial support of people like you. Please make a generous donation today so we can continue our inspired climate leadership tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. 

On we go, 

Mike Tidwell
Executive Director
Chesapeake Climate Action Network & CCAN Action Fund

Photo at the top from Markus Spiske on Unsplash

BREAKING: Hogan climate plan deeply flawed, experts say

New Research: Experts Find Critical Flaws in Hogan’s Climate Plan

During a phone-based news briefing, economic and climate policy experts released new research detailing failings in Hogan Administration’s Draft Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

ANNAPOLIS, MD — According to new findings released today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s draft Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is critically flawed and falls far short of what is needed to address the climate crisis.

See the full report at this link.

A recording of the telephone press call will be made available by request.

The review was authored by the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), an independent non-profit that assists governments across the U.S. and around the world to develop climate action plans. CCS has extensive experience previously working on climate policy with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), the same agency now responsible for the Hogan Administration’s flawed Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.

“This policy review, written by MDE’s own former consultants, clearly shows that Maryland’s climate goals are insufficient for doing our part in addressing the climate crisis,” said Steven Hershkowitz, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Making matters worse, we now know Maryland’s climate action plan likely does not put us in the position to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, let alone the 60 percent reduction called for by leading climate scientists. With President Trump sabotaging national climate actions, it’s up to the states to act — but under the Hogan Administration’s plan, Maryland is setting the entire climate movement back.”  

The findings include that:

  • Maryland’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are weak compared to other states and inadequate for meeting critical international benchmarks for averting the climate crisis.
  • Due to overly optimistic assumptions and flawed methodology, MDE’s draft plan is unlikely to result in meeting even these weak emissions reduction targets.
  • The plan is especially flawed when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the transportation sector, due to unrealistic assumptions on widespread electric vehicle adoption, dubious claims that highway widening will result in fewer emissions, and a lack of proposed strategies for reducing car travel demand.
  • MDE does not account for methane leakage in inventories or future scenarios, even as the Hogan Administration is supporting an expansion of fracked-gas infrastructure.
  • Inconsistent calculations for the emissions inventory between 2014 and 2017 call into question the accuracy of MDE’s data. See the full report at this link.

“As some of the world’s largest emitters, US states must do their fair share to stabilize the climate. As a high emitter with a strong economy and great foundation from past climate action, Maryland can demonstrate national leadership,” said Thomas D. Peterson, President and CEO of the Center for Climate Strategies. “Key areas needing improvement in Maryland’s Draft Plan include action on targets, transportation, and energy issues. Better transparency and stakeholder involvement in planning decisions are also needed.”

“The administration’s current emissions reduction commitments do not reflect the scale of the climate crisis and its impacts on our state,” said Wandra Ashley-Williams, Maryland Regional Director of ClimateXChange. “Without the level of ambition required to  tackle this crisis, we will  also miss out on the opportunity to uplift communities through a broader transition.”

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016 — which was passed by super majorities in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan —  requires MDE to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 2006 levels by 2030, and for MDE to develop this plan by the end of 2018. In October of this year, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Department of Environment released its legally mandated draft draft plan. This came two weeks after 26 Maryland-based advocacy organizations sent a letter to the agency expressing “deep concern” that they had not yet released the plan nearly ten months after it was due.

MDE is now soliciting public comment on its draft Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan through a series of community forums across the state.

About the Center for Climate Strategies

The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) helps government and stakeholders work together to develop policy and program actions that achieve goals for climate stabilization and resilience, economic development and private investment, energy and resource security, health and environmental quality, and socioeconomic equity. CCS is an independent, expert 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC with global partners.

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org

Over 400 Marylanders Gather to Combat the Climate Crisis Rebuild Maryland: Climate Action Summit

COLLEGE PARK– On a cold Saturday before the 2020 Maryland General Assembly legislative session, over four hundred Marylanders came together for an inspirational day to fight the climate crisis. Rebuild Maryland: Climate Action Summit was hosted by a coalition of advocacy groups large and small — faith leaders, labor activists, environmental groups and community members. With a little over a decade left to make real progress in stopping the impending climate crisis, it’s imperative that our leaders come together for real policy solutions. 

As one of the most vulnerable states to rising sea level changes and worsening air quality, this conference poises Maryland to be a national leader to fight the climate crisis. Demonstrating a groundswell of wide-ranging support for Maryland’s leaders to take more action to mitigate the climate crisis, these groups are ready for solutions. The day was packed with inspiring speakers and breakout sessions for participants to collaborate on climate solutions. 

The day’s speakers included climate student activist Kallan Benson, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, and various state legislative champions such as the senate chair of the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee Paul Pinsky, and renewable energy champion Delegate Lorig Charkoudian.

“The only way we can combat the climate crisis is by coming together as a community,” said Maryland LCV’s new Executive Director Kim Coble. “The conference is just the beginning of the conversation for the upcoming legislative session and a true testament to the people power of the climate movement. It is time to turn what science has told us to do into policy actions that will ensure we are doing what needs to be done.”

“Faithful congregations across Maryland have been taking action for years to lower their carbon footprint and shift to clean, renewable energy,” said Joelle Novey, Director of Interfaith Power and Light (DC.MD.NoVA). “The Governor’s plan, on the other hand, is a year late and offers far too little. We are thrilled to see people of faith and Marylanders of all backgrounds coming together to put forth an alternative plan to rebuild Maryland, one that honors science—the testimony of our natural world—and cares for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

“The hundreds of farmers, business leaders, scientists, faith leaders, medical professionals, students, and retirees who spoke up today for bold climate action are just a small sample of the Maryland that Gov. Hogan does not see,” said Steven Hershkowitz, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “The reality is, a strong majority of Marylanders do care about protecting our current and future generations from the climate crisis and are waiting for the transformation change necessary to Rebuild Maryland.”

The conference was co-sponsored by: Maryland Climate Coalition, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Interfaith Power & Light, Maryland Legislative Coalition, 350 dot org, Howard County Sunrise, HoCo Climate Action, MoCo Students for Climate, Climate Law & Policy Project, ClimateXChange, Maryland League of Women Voters, Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee, Climate Reality Montgomery County, Elders Climate Action, DoTheMostGood, Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition, Envision Frederick County, Young Voices for the Planet, Friends of the Earth US.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.  For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit http://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.

Contact:Jonathan Lacock-Nisly, Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), cell 202-525-9397