Environmental scorecard places politics over progress

Since 1970, the League of Conservation Voters, a legacy environmental advocacy group, has used its “Nationwide Environmental Scorecard” to trace and fee lawmakers’ environmental votes. LCV proudly proclaims the scorecard is the “gold normal” for evaluating the environmental data of members of Congress.

Fifty years later, nevertheless, the group’s scorecard has been weaponized, shifting from ranking related environmental votes to criticizing lawmakers’ stances on a number of unrelated political points, together with police reform and the certification of electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election. Nonetheless, regardless of taking overtly political positions, LCV claims to be a nonpartisan group and champions its potential to “drive motion on environmental coverage in Washington, D.C.”

Alongside its penchant for straying outdoors of the environmental lane, the League of Conservation Voters has run into notable turbulence relating to election regulation and celebrating the arrest of its personal activists whereas opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. LCV even opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court docket in 2018.

What’s extra is that the league has weighted its scorecard to mirror plenty of votes that don’t have anything to do with the atmosphere. The scorecard then scores the progressive place as pro-environment to mirror higher on LCV’s Democratic allies. LCV rated members of Congress on a number of groundbreaking environmental insurance policies: the Voting Rights Act, granting Washington, D.C., statehood, and defending the U.S. Postal Service. Voting “no” on Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform invoice, the JUSTICE Act, was thought of the “pro-environment” place.

The ever-expanding scorecard serves as only one instance of how the advocacy group has used local weather change to advance a progressive agenda throughout the board, moderately than present options that promote future prosperity and cut back local weather change-inducing emissions.

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For example, the group is overtly anti-nuclear vitality, even signing on to a letter to the U.S. Senate in November 2020 stating nuclear vitality “amplifies and expands the hazards of local weather change.” But, nuclear vitality supplies the most secure alternative for considerable clear vitality, at the moment accounting for 20% of electrical energy manufacturing in the US.

The LCV and teams prefer it have been on the forefront of the motion that efficiently politicized local weather change. An environmental advocacy group ought to rating legislators primarily based on their work to handle the basis causes of local weather change, not whether or not or not they voted to question a former president or voted for a partisan voting rights invoice. By shunning any and all congressional Republicans, LCV is barely hurting its potential to advance actual options.

We’d like younger folks to advocate commonsense options, which regularly means being open to working with either side of the political aisle. It’s time to maneuver past the politicization and undertake a realistic tone to tackle local weather change efficiently.

So long as we enable rhetoric to take priority over motion, actual local weather progress will stall. Younger persons are hungry for options; as an alternative of inserting politics the place they don’t belong, we should always seize the chance to strengthen America’s clear vitality business, promote actionable pure local weather options, and streamline the burdensome laws that maintain us again from decarbonization. These are avenues we should always be capable of construct upon.

Danielle Butcher (@DaniSButcher) is the chief vice chairman of the American Conservation Coalition.

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