PRESS RELEASE: Climate Cabinet Action launches first national climate scorecard to hold state legislators accountable
*Originally published Sept. 23, 2021
The Climate Cabinet Scorecard is the first national tool to hold state legislators accountable for their votes on important climate legislation. Whether the largest climate investments in history being negotiated in the Federal budget reconciliation package pass or fail, state governments will be the critical link between Federal ambition and local execution of ambitious climate policy.
At a glance, this tool gives you the power to see how 3,375 state legislators in 25 U.S. states voted on 1,107 critical climate and environmental justice bills. The states represented in the Climate Cabinet Score represent more than half the US population, over $10.9 trillion in GDP, nearly 3 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent energy sector emissions, and 289 electoral college votes.
To easily compare legislators’ holistic commitment to climate action, Climate Cabinet has assigned each legislator a Climate Score of 0–100 based upon their voting history. This score can be used to learn quickly whether an elected official is a climate champion or climate laggard.
“We created the tool we wanted to use. State legislators make crucial decisions to advance or hold back climate action every day, yet this is the first time climate floor votes are nationally accessible to advocates, strategists, journalists and other Americans with a democratic stake in climate action. With the Climate Cabinet Scorecard, we can hold state elected officials accountable for their votes and strategically target resources to the states where they will make the biggest difference for climate action,” says Caroline Spears, Climate Cabinet Action Executive Director.
“Young people across the world are fighting for our future in the face of climate change. The Climate Cabinet Scorecard will help youth activists across the US learn about our state leaders and demand that they are also fighting for our future,” said Alexandria Villaseñor, founder of Earth Uprising and co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike. “We need rapid, equitable climate action now, and legislators should know we’re going to hold them to it.”
Climate Cabinet Action recognizes we can’t address climate change without state leadership. States hold critical jurisdiction over climate and climate justice decisions. They hold the power to lower barriers to renewable energy, clean up the transportation system, oversee utilities, and ensure equity is prioritized in the clean energy transition and response to climate impacts. States control significant funding decisions and play a central role in leveraging Federal funding, including infrastructure. How states choose to direct their resources has led to some of our biggest climate wins — and losses — to date.
“State legislators continue to be leaders in the fight for an equitable clean energy transition. As congress works to pass the bold climate investments our nation needs, state leadership will remain crucial for the U.S. to meet our climate goals,” said Bill Holland, Senior Director, State Policy and Advocacy at League of Conservation Voters. “From California to South Carolina, Colorado to Virginia, state leaders are passing bold climate bills that provide the model for federal ambition and will play a vital role ensuring federal climate action is actually implemented. The Climate Cabinet Action scorecard builds off analysis from LCV’s network of state partners and other groups to show which state legislators are using their leadership to address the climate crisis with the urgency it deserves.”
With the Climate Cabinet Scorecard, it is easy to see who is fighting for our future and who is blocking progress at every turn:
- For example, there is a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans on climate votes. Democrats (average score: 91) are largely fighting for our future and Republicans (average score: 27) blocking progress every chance they get.
- However, party affiliation alone does not signify whether an elected official is a climate champion, or a climate offender. Democrats are not unanimously fighting for climate action: 27 Democrats score below 50, and 235 Democrats score below 80.Americans are ready to act on climate change.
The American people are strongly in favor of clean energy and climate policies. We need all our elected officials to be fighting for a just and equitable clean energy transition.
Arizona State Representative Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton (Climate Cabinet Score of 100) said: “Arizona is already feeling the impacts of climate change. Parts of the state are literally at risk of running out of water, and we have some of the worst asthma rates in the US — yet Republicans in the Arizona state house and senate continue to favor special interests and polluters over the needs of regular Arizonans. We need accountability and action now.”
The Climate Cabinet Scorecard was created to make it easy to hold elected legislators accountable for their votes and build the momentum we need to pass strong climate policy everywhere. The Climate Cabinet Action Scorecard is a national resource to grow capacity for targeted state engagement. It is designed to help advocates identify and build informed political strategies to ratchet ambition in state houses across America.
If an elected official wants to improve their climate score, they can do so by voting for pro-climate policies every chance they get. Climate Cabinet plans to release updated scores yearly to track progress.
Explore the climate score map! Go to our website to use our interactive web tool that helps you explore a state or identify a specific state representative. And read our Climate Scorecard
report here for a state-by-state breakdown of all state legislator scores.
About Climate Cabinet Action: Climate Cabinet Action helps candidates run, win, and legislate on the climate crisis. We support climate champions up and down the ballot to ensure every elected office in America is held by an official fighting for a just and equitable clean energy transition that creates jobs and makes life better for all Americans.