A year ago today, our team was gearing up for the 2022 midterms. We were clear-eyed: the stakes for preserving our democracy and building momentum to tackle climate change could not be higher. And, we knew that state legislatures and local elections were key to the strategy to win. So, we scaled up our investments in downballot elections.

This year, we scoured more than 5,000 state and local elections nationwide to find the ones with the “highest ROI” for unlocking climate action. We got involved in priority elections early – rolling out our first endorsements in March, to maximize the impact of our support for fledgling campaigns. And, we held biweekly workshops to help candidates feel confident campaigning as climate champions. 

The result? 85% of our candidates won – putting a new class of climate champions at the helm of 524 million metric tons of CO2 emissions/year.

With historic numbers of climate champions taking office and the passage of federal climate programs which state and local governments must implement, 2023 is a year of big opportunity. We’re making sure new leaders take office with a climate plan on Day One – ready to spearhead the next chapter of the clean energy transition.

We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done this year, and incredibly grateful to the community who made it possible. To our supporters, our partners, our candidates, and you: thank you.

It was an action-packed year. Here are some highlights:

Winning on climate in the midterms
Thanks to supporters like you, we helped send 49 high priority Climate Slate champions into critical state and local elected offices. These newly elected officials are now sitting in offices with outsized climate stakes. For example: 
  • In Columbia, Missouri, we were instrumental in electing Barbara Buffaloe, a sustainability professional, for Mayor. She now oversees 5 city-owned power plants and is working to lower utility bills through energy efficiency for renters.
  • In Minnesota, Climate Slate candidates helped flip the State Senate to a climate majority – clearing the pathway for 100% clean energy legislation to finally advance.
Read more about the Climate Slate's success on the campaign trail this year. 
Climate Cabinet Education: ready, set, go
Winning an election is only part one of a policymaker's journey. Climate Cabinet Education ensures that downballot climate champions have the support they ned to maximize the climate impact of their respective office.

As soon as Election Day was over this fall, Climate Cabinet Education sprung into action to convene newly elected policymakers, policy experts, and partners on a "Tackling Climate" webinar - ensuring newly elected officials would take office prepared to govern on climate.
Policy wins: accelerating clean cars in Virginia

This year, Climate Cabinet’s legislative director spent the winter on the ground in Virginia, supporting climate champions in the legislature as they were inundated with a suite of potential climate policy rollbacks – including attacks on Virginia's 100% clean electricity standard, Clean Cars Standard, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Inititiative, and building electrification. We played a key role in blocking rollbacks – and even passing a proactive electric vehicle bill with bipartisan support. Holding the line in Virginia this year was of national importance. In 2023, defending the Clean Cars program is a top priority, and Virginia is ground zero.

Blair, Courtney, and Emma in Washington D.C.
Groundbreaking research
Climate Cabinet Education has built the largest national database of local climate action in the US – tracking policymakers, voting records, energy opportunities, and more.

This database enabled groundbreaking research into coordinated anti-climate, anti-democracy bills proliferating across US states, including a report on anti-protest legislation covered in the Guardian.
Holding policymakers accountable

With 7,000+ state legislators making key decisions nationwide, it’s hard to keep track of who is fighting for our future and who is holding us back. This year, Climate Cabinet Action released updated climate scorecards to assess climate voting records of legislators in 5 states – holding them accountable to people, not polluters.

Executive Director Caroline Spears with Minnesota climate champions.

We work day in and day out to help local leaders run, win, and legislate on the climate crisis. Our climate depends on it. 

2023 is a year of opportunity. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act put state and local governments in the driver’s seat of the next chapter of the clean energy transition. And there are key climate elections year-round – as early as April.

Truly, thank you for being with us. To support our work, you can make a contribution today or forward this email to a friend.

Have a restful holiday. And get ready for a big year in 2023


The Climate Cabinet team

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