CCL2015: Full Conference Report

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.

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REMI Study Shows Carbon Fee & Dividend Grows Economy

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.

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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.

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Earth Day Comment: We are Living the Transition

We are now living in the beginning of a period of global transition. Over the next two decades we will be rebuilding the infrastructure of our civilization. We could choose to replace existing infrastructure with something similar, but slightly newer and more expensive… or we could choose to build the economy of the future. There’s no question about which is a better investment.

As we come to grips with the mounting costs of inefficient outdated technologies, we are beginning to see the unprecedented economic incentive for moving swiftly to redesign the built environment that we inhabit. The amount of energy trapped in hydrocarbon molecules deep underground is minuscule in comparison to the amount of solar energy that lands on the surface of the Earth and the resulting kinetic energy that moves around our planet all day, every day.

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Why the Carbon Budget Matters

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found, in its 5th Assessment Report (AR5), which was released in September, that the worldwide human community has a global lifetime budget of “burnable” carbon-based fuels. Beyond that, any further burning of carbon-emitting fuels would push global average temperatures more than 2°C higher than the historic norm, unleashing unmanageable climate destabilization. So, though existing reserves might allow us to use far more than the scientifically measured carbon fuel budget, those resources are in effect “unburnable”.

This is not a matter for ideologically driven debate. This is a question of hard numbers. A 2°C rise is the tipping point, beyond which it is projected climate destabilization will be irreversible, with complex feedback loops exacerbating the situation more and more. Beyond a certain point, probably well before we reach the full 2°C rise, the actual cost of adapting to significant destabilization of historically consistent climate patterns will exceed our ability to spend to respond.

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El alba de la época Antropocena

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El ser humano se ha vuelto tan influyente en los proceso naturales que los científicos ahora temen que la naturaleza ha perdido capacidades vitales de resistencia

En una reunión de científicos europeos, en Estocolmo, el hombre que inventó el término ‘antropoceno’ para describir una nueva época geológica—en la que la influencia humana domina los proceso naturales—ha anunciado que el término ahora se está aplicando desde múltiples campos de estudio. La importancia real del término es que la información ecológica es cada vez más imprescindible para poder llevar a cabo las ambiciones humanas de una forma responsable y sostenible.

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World Food Supply Under Threat from Environmental Factors

The global food supply is facing major security challenges, as warming global average temperatures and the destabilization of climate patterns and natural services undermine dependable agricultural cycles and threaten resources. The food supply is the most direct and visible connection between the breakdown of global climate systems and human health and wellbeing, but not the only link. The possible collapse of a major part of the human food supply means the collapse of agriculture, i.e. the breakdown of the human habitat.

Habitat is something we tend to associate with non-human animal life. Most species are evolved to function in highly specialized habitats, and complications common in neighboring natural environments can pose a direct threat to the fragile natural systems on whose balance a sustainable habitat depends. Human beings, however, like mountain lions, ants and a number of bird species, have shown near universal adaptability in terms of diverse range of climates. But the human habitat is more than temperature and precipitation: it’s sustainable agriculture.

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Australian PM Rudd Announces Global Carbon Capture Project

Australian PM Rudd Announces Global Carbon Capture Project

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.

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