An idea whose time has come
In 2010, when Citizens’ Climate Lobby brought 25 citizen volunteers to Capitol Hill, it felt like a big challenge to get enough people to go the distance, to meet with all 535 voting members of Congress. This year, we brought 36 times as many people, and it is looking more like we will need more elected officials to welcome and build relationships with all the citizen lobbyists coming to make democracy work.
The 2015 CCL International Conference brought a record number of citizen volunteer lobbyists together—more than 900—to have real policy discussions with elected officials. It was a breakthrough year in a lot of ways:
- For the first time, we had more people attending than could reasonably fit into the meetings we had scheduled.
- We had nearly three times as many volunteers to role-play members of Congress in our basic training than we had volunteers total in our first conference.
- We heard from not one but two great scientists who have been named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people on Earth.
- We were joined by dozens of faith leaders, who came to support this message of enhanced civics and substantive policy for a livable world.
- Pope Francis released his Encyclical Laudato Si: On caring for our common home 5 days before we went to the Hill.
- On the morning of our Lobby Day, the Lancet released a comprehensive public health study that calls for pricing carbon as necessary to protect human health from now on.
- And, in one Republican office after another, we heard the message: we get the science; we want to talk about solutions.
Continue reading “CCL2015: Full Conference Report”
[ The Note for September 2014 ]
The Cafe Cash Register Standard
There is a cafe I like to visit whenever I am near Villanova University, where I studied and taught for many years. A few years ago, someone staged an informal experiment, putting a stamp on a dollar bill to make it easily identifiable. Staff at this cafe reported receiving the bill in payment no less than 30 times in a 60-day period. That one dollar bill became $30 in gross domestic product (GDP). In this sense, the local economy of the cafe is a phenomenally efficient engine of economic productivity.
Continue reading “Generating Vibrant Local Economies”
Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), one of the most respected economic modeling firms in the world, has produced a new study, using proven and reliable models, which shows that a steadily rising carbon fee returning 100% of revenues to households would create millions of new jobs, expand GDP and save hundreds of thousands of lives. In the first 10 years alone, the plan would generate 2.1 million net new jobs, across the entire US economy.
It is commonly thought that putting any kind of price on carbon emissions would cause costs to rise unbearably and the economy to slow disruptively. REMI’s new study The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax [pdf] shows that the manner in which the price is applied is what matters, and that getting it right can relieve and even reverse grave inefficiencies in our current market dynamic.
Continue reading “REMI Study Shows Carbon Fee & Dividend Grows Economy”
The new administration in Washington, DC, has taken notice: climate change is not about a mild 1º increase in temperature on any given day; it is about a sweeping destabilization of global climate patterns, which could undermine the entire layout of civilization across the world. Building the infrastructure necessary for implementing and sustaining a green … Continue reading Global Climate Destabilization is Major Security & Economic Threat
En la crisis climático-energética, necesitamos soluciones sabias, formidables y asequibles. Es necesario construir cuanto antes una economía verde y sostenible, una economía a base de recursos energéticos limpios y condicionada para sostener una prosperidad no corrosiva. La mejor manera de promover la inyección masiva de capital privado en el proceso de re-invención del mercado energético … Continue reading Pago por carbono y dividendo: para un futuro próspero y sostenible
There is nothing ideological about the issue of renewable energy resources. Proponents tend to care about the health of the natural environment, which motivates their wish to see renewables replace high-polluting fuel sources like oil and coal, but the technologies, the fact of their economic viability and their usefulness for society at large, are not in any way a matter of ideology.
Neither is there anything ideological about the allegiance of some to carbon-based fuels. The considerations are entirely practical on all sides, and we need to remember this as we try to find consensus on how to move forward, responsibly, as a civilization, in terms of our relationship to energy and the environment.
Continue reading “Renewable Energy is Not an Ideological Issue”
Citizens Climate Lobby took its message to Capitol Hill, meeting with 52 different members of Congress, or their energy and climate staff, in both the House and the Senate. The first CCL national conference was fortuitously timed, as the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has brought into stark relief the nature of the carbon-fuel problem and the urgent need for action to achieve a civilization-wide overhaul of energy infrastructure, and the climate bill pending in the Senate may not have the votes to override a filibuster.
The “Lobby Day” experience was part of the first annual CCL National Conference, in the nation’s capital. The landmark event brought together climate scientists, oceanographers, environmental engineers, economists, activists, community leaders, small business owners and concerned citizens, to deliver the message to members of both parties that citizens from the community, their own constituents, will support them if they take meaningful, comprehensive action to combat climate destabilization. Continue reading “Citizens Climate Lobby Takes Campaign to Capitol Hill”
Pres. Barack Obama has proposed a national high-speed rail program that would develop eight to ten regions for high-speed rail (currently, only the so-called northeast corridor, running from Washington, DC, to Boston, through Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, has a regular high-speed service), as part of a phased-in long-term economic recovery plan. The rail project comes into play also as part of Obama’s plans for a comprehensive energy-sector overhaul, aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
The high-speed rail project is perhaps one of the least adequately reported components of both economic recovery and energy infrastructure overhaul plans, but one of the most vital and thoughtful. A successful implementation of 10 high-speed rail “regions”, in the most densely populated areas of the country, would provide a platform for major innovations in transport and energy sourcing.
Continue reading “High-speed Rail Program Integral to Energy Overhaul”
Carbon offsets allow the use of carbon-emitting processes to help fund and develop clean alternatives, which can then compete with and possibly replace the offending carbon-emitters. But there are also ways in which carbon offsetting can be used to combat poverty around the world. If offsets are focused on reducing bad habits, resulting from those engaging in those habits having either no alternative or no training to find alternatives, people living in the poorest conditions can find themselves benefitting from the clean energy revolution.
The group CarbonAided, which helps inform, and provide guidance for implementing carbon offsets, is now seeking to establish means by which carbon offsetting can produce real-world benefits for marginalized and poor communities in developing countries. Breaking the cycle of bad carbon practice the world over requires this step be taken, and the logic of doing it through carbon offsetting is that developing countries can be brought up to speed on emissions reductions by the same process that helps developed industrial countries break their bad habits.
Continue reading “Carbon Offsetting May Be Means of Fighting Global Poverty”
The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI) was announced in L’Aquila by Australia’s premier Kevin Rudd. The GCCSI amounts to a global intergovernmental effort to produce state of the art carbon capture projects to sequester and store carbon produced by industry in the period leading up to a zero-emissions energy infrastructure. Rudd unveiled the project at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, convened by US president Barack Obama alongside the G8 summit of leading world economies.
The Australian prime minister described the GCCSI as a “rolling global clearing house” for cutting-edge technologies that can speed concrete carbon-capture and storage (CCS) solutions to market across the globe, helping to reduce the greenhouse effect of burning carbon-based fuels. 23 governments and 100 private companies have already joined the initiative, in hopes of supporting best-practice technological innovations that can help combat climate change and ease the cost of transitioning to a clean energy model.
Continue reading “Australian PM Rudd Announces Global Carbon Capture Project”