The History of Governors' Non-Staff Climate Staff - Climate Litigation Watch

The History of Governors’ Non-Staff Climate Staff

CLW noted previously the inarguable yet oddly disputed program underway to place privately hired “staff” in governors’ offices to push the climate agenda, a la Michael Bloomberg’s scheme placing privately hired “Special Assistant Attorneys General” for climate prosecutions.

CLW is reminded of the “so it’s ok for the NRA and Right to Life to do this?” counterfactual that no establishment media outlet has posited about Bloomberg’s AG scheme – but additionally, how an “informal” (legally non-existent) group hires, pays and places “staff” in governors’ offices. Imagine for a moment a Cooler Heads Coalition Fellow in governors’ offices to push the CHC’s climate agenda.

But we digress. CLW knows the rules are different depending upon one’s position on issues, even as it hopes that a public more educated on the abuses will waken our slumbering good-government watchdogs.

The Times quotes USCA’s (well, UN Foundation’s) Julie Cerqueira as saying “Some states have indicated that capacity constraints are a challenge to meeting their climate goals, and that additional staff capacity is needed”. That is to explain the “USCA [sic] State Climate Leaders Fellowship (USCA Fellows)”. According to an April 19, 2019 concept paper, the USCA Fellows “would fill critical staffing constraints for leading states by providing additional staff resources to deliver specific outcomes as determined by each state. USCA Fellows would be selected by, and embedded with, governors’ offices or delegated agencies to ensure they support the state’s priorities.”

That all sounds familiar.

Chris Horner’s report for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Government for Rent“, detailed the apparent pilot program for this scheme – laid out also by the Wall Street Journal editorial board in “Climate of Unaccountability“ – as well as the origins of USCA.

Discussions among funders and elected officials to provide an off-budget army of non-staff began in Spring 2017 amid fear that Pres. Trump would withdraw from the Paris climate treaty (or send it to the Senate for a ratification vote or, further still, withdraw from the UN Framework Convention which, we are now told, means there need be no more “treaties” just an ever closer climate union bypassing the US Senate and requiring ever tighter restrictions).

At that time, emails show, governors’ staff members flatly, if curiously, asserted that very same position as USCA/UNF does now, arguing that “it can’t always be us staff” performing the work of staff.

Fortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown’s aide Aimee Barnes continued, “there are many resources keen to be at our disposal to support us further”.

They had a projected budget for this year of $30 million, mostly to be run through what staff called “pass throughs” (among which the staff listed the American Lung Association, Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) and Center for a New Energy Economy, which indeed has taken a leadership role with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in guiding willing governors’ offices, more public records show).

And UNF has been out pitching donors, apparently with success, claiming to have funders specifically underwriting non-staff advisors for Gov. Polis, and one other state. That state appears to be New Mexico (though Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office also expressed interest). More on which, later.