Record heat waves provide backdrop for Senate climate action including Markey’s Civilian Climate Corps


Washington (July 19, 2021) – As our planet continues to experience record heat and climate-related disasters that have killed hundreds of people from Portland to Texas to the East Coast, the Senate is in the middle of a once-in-a-generation moment for climate action. The Washington Post highlighted the climate crisis Friday, which has been felt nationwide:


“A series of brutal heat waves has roasted the Pacific Northwest and western Canada in recent weeks, setting temperature records, fueling intense wildfires and causing hundreds of deaths. A Canadian town burned. Once unthinkable triple-digit temperatures baked landscapes, contributing to what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called the hottest June on record for the United States.”


The Post also highlighted Senator Markey’s central role in fighting for climate action in the infrastructure packages moving forward and the importance of the moment facing the climate movement:


“Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a longtime advocate of more ambitious climate action, said Democrats have no choice but to try however possible to pass legislation that tackles a looming global problem.


“This is the most significant moment for climate action in years,” Markey said in a statement Thursday. “We’ve got work to do in order to get these programs right, but I’m confident we will construct a final bill that has justice and equity, creates jobs, and reduces emissions in a meaningful way.”


One key piece of climate action legislation under consideration in the reconciliation package is Senator Markey’s Civilian Climate Corps for Job and Justice Act. This legislation updates, modernizes, and expands the concept of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps and will create over a million new, equitable and good-paying jobs across America while combatting the climate crisis. The program will ensure that all Americans who want to participate may do so, regardless of race, age, or gender; broaden the range of eligible projects; provide 21st century health and education benefits; deepen partnerships with unions; and preserve Tribal sovereignty.


The Civilian Climate Corps will administer a large national service program and provide simplified and enhanced grants to scale up the existing network of over 130 local and state service and conservation corps. This unique combination of a federal program and partnerships with community organizations, all under the same umbrella, will leverage the network and local expertise of new and existing “Partner Corps” while at the same time rapidly developing a large number of service projects. 65 percent of voters across the United States support the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps.


Another key climate proposal included in the outline of the reconciliation package is Senator Markey’s bill to create a National Climate Bank, also known as a Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, which he introduced with Senator Chris Van Hollen and which Representative Debbie Dingell introduced in the House. This institution would leverage public and private funds to invest in low- and no-emission technologies and infrastructure, as well as building retrofits and energy efficiency. This legislation would provide financing to eligible regional, state and local green banks, make investments directly into projects that reduce carbon emissions, support workers and communities negatively impacted by the climate transition, and provide technical assistance for the start-up of new green banks around the United States. It also would require that at least 40 percent of all investments be directed into disadvantaged communities facing climate impacts.