Tampa progressive groups affirm Democratic chair’s climate action plan doesn’t go far enough

Climate activists call on Rep. Kathy Castor to support a phase-out of fossil fuels no later than 2030

TAMPA — Today the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, chaired by Representative Kathy Castor of Florida, released its climate action plan, entitled “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy and Just America.” The report outlines policy recommendations that represent a step forward, but the targets are inadequate in scale and ambition of what is necessary to address the climate crisis. 

Food and Water Action, Mi Familia Vota, and Friends of the Earth are part of a coalition working to demand the City of Tampa to adopt a resolution opposing all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city and calling for communitywide 100% renewable energy for transportation and electricity by 2030. As a coalition, we can only note our disappointment regarding the Committee’s investment in false solutions like biogas, carbon capture sequestration and carbon pricing, while failing to develop a plan in line with what science and justice demand: a pathway to rapidly eliminate fossil fuels.

“It is beyond disappointing that the plan continues our dependence on fossil fuels, which are at the center of the climate crisis. Here in Tampa Bay, we feel the climate impacts from sea level rise, which is causing sewage overflows and threatening water quality,” said Michelle Allen, Florida State Director of Food & Water Action. “As Tampa’s Representative and Chair of the committee dedicated to solving the climate crisis, Representative Kathy Castor must call for a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and an end to fossil fuels.”

“As Chair, Rep. Castor is in a unique position to champion the bold and transformative action that her constituents in Tampa Bay need and demand,” said Britten Evans, senior organizer with Friends of the Earth. “The committee’s recognition that justice for frontline, Black, Indigenous, and communities of color must be at the heart of any climate solution is long overdue. However, the targets fall short of the ambition we need to meet our promise to these communities.”

“Climate change and environmental pollution disproportionally affects Latino and immigrant communities,” said Soraya Marquez, Florida State Director for Mi Familia Vota. “We are suffering now. Latinos are more affected by pollution induced asthma. Florida and southern states of the US where most Latinos live are at a greater risk from the effects of the climate crisis. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is still waiting on funds to rebuild after Hurricane Maria hit almost 3 years. Our elected officials must lead with urgency and stop the delay tactics, delay tactics that benefit political careers but are dangerous to our communities. The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ refusal to act now is irresponsible and a continuation of those delay tactics. Mi Familia Vota demands that our elected officials take urgent scientifically sound action to mitigate the climate crisis by eliminating use of fossil fuels and converting to 100% renewable energy by 2030.”

We are in the midst of a climate emergency. From sea level rise to severe storms like Hurricane Irma, Floridians are threatened by flooding, drinking water contamination, a critical loss of infrastructure and significant economic losses. Of the ten cities in the world most threatened by sea level rise, five are in the United States, two are in Florida, and Tampa is one of them. As Tampa’s Congressional Representative, Kathy Castor must lead the nation in mobilizing the rapid transition to 100% clean energy from solar, wind and tidal sources by 2030.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent science, we must reduce global emissions by roughly 45 percent by 2030 to have a strong chance at a habitable world in 2050. The United States must lead the global efforts to get to 100% as quickly as possible, being that we have the wealth and power to do so and the moral obligation as the major contributor to global emissions.

We echo the demands of frontline, vulnerable, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities disproportionately harmed by the fossil-fuel based economy and call on Representative Castor and the Committee to recommend a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and additional key interim targets on the way to zero U.S. emissions well before 2050 in line with the 1.5ºC trajectory laid out in the IPCC’s report.

Contact: Erin Jensen, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0722, [email protected]

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