top of page

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer... About That Civilian Climate Corps

This letter calling for a bold, ambitious, fully-funded CCC to Pelosi and Schumer-- as the Senate Democrats rush to put the finishing touches on the reconciliation bill-- is something you might want to take a serious look at.

Biden has been vocal about making sure the CCC is a part of his plan to fight climate change, even if he's a little skimpy on the funding. It’s up to grassroots progressives to make sure he not only keeps his commitment but that he also creates a CCC that is just and big enough to make a real indent in our climate and economic crises. No one wants or needs a CCC in name only. We need a CCC that centers jobs, racial justice, and community. The only way we get that is by organizing and showing support. An example of some organizing, if you haven't yet seen: last night even Schumer came out publicly saying he will "work tirelessly to achieve a big and bold CCC that places justice at the center and urgently addresses our interlocking climate and economic crises" in Biden's Build Back Better agenda. You trust him?

Like many of the other groups that have endorsed the Green New Deal resolution in Congress sponsored by AOC and Ed Markey, Blue America is one of the signatories to this letter:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer,

We the undersigned organizations write to express our support for a bold, ambitious Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) that would put young Americans to work serving their communities and tackling the climate crisis. We encourage you to move swiftly to pass the full American Jobs Plan, including a robust CCC. We call on Congress to fund this program at levels of at least $60 billion to fully realize this opportunity.

President Biden recognized the potential of a Civilian Climate Corps when he included it in his American Jobs Plan and FY2022 budget. Tapping into enthusiasm for the sweeping social programs of the New Deal era, the possibility of a modern CCC remains one of the most popular, exciting components of the AJP. Americans want the opportunity to serve their communities, tackle the most pressing threat facing our country, and earn family-sustaining wages. The CCC would let them do so, through national service work that ranges from installing solar panels to supporting disaster resilience and recovery. With high road service and workforce development standards and strong environmental justice requirements, an ambitious Climate Corps would train a generation of climate leaders, kickstart the climate workforce mobilization, and directly combat systemic racial injustice by prioritizing resources and job creation in underserved communities.

Young voters widely support this vision. Half of all voters under 45 say they would consider joining the Climate Corps if a job was available to them. The new CCC would provide unprecedented economic opportunities to those young Americans, who are unemployed at nearly double the rate of the total population. Like the COVID recovery package’s $1,400 checks, putting young people into high-quality national service positions to tackle climate change and on pathways to good-paying, union jobs would make precisely the kind of visible policy change in Americans’ lives that can demonstrate the power of government to serve its people.

The federal government must be ambitious to take on this task. AmeriCorps and the federal agencies, state service commissions, conservation corps, and other partners that it works with already provide a ready-made infrastructure upon which the CCC can be built. They have the necessary authorities and experience to implement the CCC, as well as the relationships at the state and local level to ensure that its efforts are driven by communities’ needs. As such, this funding should be fully directed to public works.

It is critical that the CCC set corpsmembers up for success during and after their year of service-- and that this holds true across all national service programs. This means providing a living allowance of at least the equivalent of $15/hour for all corpsmembers, plus healthcare, childcare, and educational benefits that would help corpsmembers and their families thrive. Corpsmembers should also receive technical and vocational training during their service, including through pre-apprenticeships in partnership with local union chapters, to open pathways to stable careers in the clean economy.

The Civilian Climate Corps must also advance environmental justice and correct the racially exclusionary practices of the original Civilian Conservation Corps. It must be a viable opportunity for all young Americans, and it must address the disproportionate burden on communities of color across the country from the overlapping harms of toxic pollution, economic disinvestment, and other structural inequities. The CCC can be a force to directly combat those inequities and support these communities. To that end, any new CCC program should direct half of corps investments into overburdened communities, and recruit at least half of its corpsmembers from those same places. The program should also ensure gender equity, provide opportunities for corpsmembers of a range of ages and abilities, give corpsmembers opportunities regardless of immigration status, protect tribal sovereignty, and more. And by prioritizing local recruitment and engaging in local consultation on project design and implementation the CCC can ensure that its climate action is sustainably driven from the bottom-up, rather than top-down.

The Civilian Climate Corps is an opportunity to clearly demonstrate that climate action and job creation are inextricably and positively linked. Going big on the CCC can channel public attention on the AJP towards an energizing proposal that centers job creation, environmental justice, and direct community investment. We urge you to support this historic investment in jobs and justice that would make good on President Biden’s transformative vision.

Blue America has endorsed Jason Call, Bruno Amato, Shervin Aazami and other candidates with visions on Climate like Jason's, Bruno's and Shervin's. "My campaign enthusiastically supports the Civilian Climate Corps," he told me this afternoon. "In fact, I believe this is a facet of the long-term vision that we have been waiting for, and no surprise that it is being championed by two of the most ardent promoters of the Green New Deal in Congress. I will be joining the Sunrise sponsored Day of Action on July 15th with my local Sunrise group in Bellingham, where we will visit incumbent Rick Larsen's offices and demand his support of these efforts. Rick talks a lot about 'bold, FDR' efforts to tackle the climate crisis, but currently hasn't sponsored or supported anything meaningful in terms of systemic changes. I'll be impressed if he signs on."

Bruno Amato is the progressive Democrat taking on GOP supervillain Kevin McCarthy. Unlike McCarthy, dealing with the climate crisis is a major priority for Amato's campaign. "I live in a district that needs to continue transitioning to more green jobs," he told me today. "Yes, even in the 23rd District known for it's oil industry. This is also a district that employs thousands in wind and solar jobs, yet we can do so much more. This is a once in a generation chance to save our planet and the future of our children and their children. While guys like Kevin McCarthy will turn a blind eye to our climate crisis with his hand in the back pocket of Big Oil, it's the perfect time for a Civilian Climate Corps and a chance to create millions of good paying union jobs that will also save our planet and spur economic growth. We can no longer ignore our climate crisis. We must act!" Please consider contributing to Bruno's Shervin's and Jason's campaigns by clicking on the Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer below... and chipping in what you can.

California progressive congressional candidate Shervin Aazami told me that "From giant infernos in the Gulf of Mexico after a gas leak to reports that over a billion sea creatures perished in the Salish Sea off the coast of Canada after a record heat wave, we have a monumental climate crisis on our hands. The less we spend on climate action, mitigation, and adaptation now, the more catastrophic the economic and human costs will be in the future. We need legislation, performance metrics, and funding that match the scale of this crisis-- and $60 billion for a revolutionary Civilian Climate Corps in the American Jobs Plan is a great downpayment on the jobs we will need to respond to this crisis in earnest. Our San Fernando Valley district is on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Los Angeles has the worst ozone pollution in the country. Our district was the site of the largest natural gas blowout in U.S. history in 2015, when 109,000 metric tons of methane were dumped into the air, poisoning communities for miles and miles. A partial nuclear meltdown at a rocket testing site in our district dumped tons of radioactive waste into high-density population centers, and decades later the corporations and government agencies responsible are still trying to wash their hands of accountability. Raging wildfires and severe heat waves are the new normal. Our lack of public transit-- and the astonishing lack of funding for high-speed rail in the infrastructure package-- mean our low-income communities of color will continue bearing the brunt of the economic toll of climate inaction. As climate change gets worse, so too will healthcare emergencies and LA's already severe housing crisis. The point is-- climate action is about economic, racial, healthcare, and housing justice. There is no alternative to immediate, robust, and comprehensive climate action. It's a humanitarian imperative."

1 Comment

Jul 10, 2021

pointless. biden included the ccc in his "plan" because voters want something done on climate. it does NOT mean either he or the democrap party want it... just that they recognize that voters do.

can you name 20 other things that voters want/need that the democraps have refused to *do* since 1992? I can probably name 40. Add in 20 or 40 things the democraps have actually DONE that are opposite of what they should have done... and then you have a clear picture of your heroes... the democrap party.

*IF* any shred of a 'ccc' ends up passing in some sort of puny pointless feckless infrastructure (which will never include tax increases, therefore the puny pointless feckless qualifiers), it…

bottom of page