Washington, D.C. – Today, Climate Power 2020 announced its North Carolina Co-Chairs, a coalition of state leaders and activists who reflect the diverse, grassroots movement needed to ensure 2020 is a defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis.

State Senator Erica SmithDeAndrea Salvador, founder of the Renewable Energy Transition Initiative, and Susannah Tuttle, Director of North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, are partnering with Climate Power 2020 to hold anti-science candidates accountable for embracing anti-science policies that hurt all North Carolinians and to mobilize individuals to ensure the 2020 presidential election is the defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis.

Nearly 60 percent of North Carolinians, according to polling from Yale University, are worried about climate change and even more think President Trump and Congress should do more to address climate change. Yet Trump and his congressional allies are ignoring experts, refusing to believe in science, surrendering our government to big oil executives, and gutting public health protections, all at the expense of future generations.

“Climate change threatens the economic security and health of all North Carolinians. It’s driving devastating tropical storms, hurricanes, and floods that wreak havoc on communities across our state,” said North Carolina State Senator Erica D. Smith. “I’m partnering with Climate Power 2020 to embolden our leaders to act decisively in the face of this existential threat.”

“Every year, North Carolinians brace for another hurricane season made worse by climate change — hoping that this year the catastrophic storms will spare their homes and livelihood. We cannot afford to wait any longer, 2020 is our opportunity to demand comprehensive solutions to address the climate crisis,” said DeAndrea Salvador, founder of the Renewable Energy Transition Initiative. “I am excited to join Climate Power 2020 in pushing our leaders to campaign on bold, aggressive climate action that builds resiliency in our communities.”

“Flooding, wildfires, and rising temperatures are becoming more frequent and severe in North Carolina as the climate crisis intensifies. Fighting climate change is a daunting challenge but one we must face for the sake of our state’s future,” said Susannah Tuttle, director of NC Interfaith Power & Light. “I’m proud to be working with the team at Climate Power 2020 as they call for leaders around the country to prioritize climate action.

Climate Power 2020 will focus on North Carolina because of its importance to the 2020 election map and the high concentration of individuals living there that data shows are most motivated by climate change political messaging. Sixty percent of North Carolinians believe Trump should do more to combat climate change even as he dismisses the crisis by calling it a “hoax.”

North Carolina communities are also living with the impacts of climate change with periods of intense heat and dangerous flooding on the rise in the state. Since Trump took office, North Carolina has experienced 14 climate-related disasters that have caused $247.6 billion in damages. Research also shows that North Carolinians will face a sixfold increase in the number of dangerous heat per year by 2050.

According to census estimates, Latino voter turnout nearly doubled between comparable election cycles in both presidential and midterm years, going from 95,000 votes in 2012 to 186,000 in 2016 and from 53,000 votes in 2014 to 104,000 in 2018 in North Carolina. Young voters remained relatively consistent between comparable election cycles. From 2014 to 2018, younger voter participation went from 18.4 to 19.2 percent of the midterm electorate and from 2012 to 2016 they remained steady at 23 percent of the electorate.

That data shows only a modest change in turnout rate among young or Latino voters could force a conversation on climate change and force anti-science candidates, including President Trump, to defend his failed agenda.

The state co-chairs join an already formidable collection of Advisory Board members, including Founder of Fair Fight and the Southern Economic Advancement Project Stacey Abrams, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Co-Author of the Green New Deal,  Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Founder/CEO, Ocean Collectiv, Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Climate Strike Partnerships Coordinator at the Future Coalition and co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council Thomas Lopez, Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Former Senator Harry Reid, Former Investor, Philanthropist, and Founder of NextGen America Tom Steyer, Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, and Co-Founder, Sunrise Movement, and Jamal Raad, Co-founder and Campaign Director, Evergreen Action, among others.