Thursday, July 17, 2014

Volunteers Advocate for Cutting Greenhouse Gases and Creating Jobs

by Jim Russell
Citizen lobbyists from around the U.S. take market-based solution for global warming to Capitol Hill during a conference held June 22-24 in Washington D.C. About 600 volunteers attended including seven from Eastern Washington
(Photo by Erica Flock/Citizen’s Climate Lobby website)

Tired of the swarming debates about taxes, regulations and job losses to reverse global warming? Would you believe there is a Fee and Dividend proposal that reduces carbon emissions without regulations and sends you a dividend check to pay for increased energy costs and increases jobs?  Then you may be interested in the bipartisan individuals in Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), who fervently believe they are making progress in Congress.

The fervor of the CCL has risen at the same time powerful Republicans voices have risen in the report, Risky Business Project. It urges businesses reduce greenhouse gases that pose serious economic risks to agricultural yields, labor productivity, human health, energy systems, insurance, coastal properties, wildfires and infrastructure.

“When people like former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and George Shultz, both Republicans, start talking about the extreme risk of taking no action on global warming, it increases the pressure on Congress to come up with solutions,” said Mark Reynolds, CCL executive director.

CCL’s plan requires energy companies pay a fee on carbon emissions at the source, 100 percent of which is redistributed to households by the federal government. Energy producers reduce carbon emissions by purchasing less-expensive energy systems from industries that increase jobs to respond to the demand.

The study estimates a carbon fee that increased every year for 20
 years would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, add 2.8 million jobs to the economy and save lives lost to pulmonary disease.

CCL is a nonprofit, honest-to-goodness grassroots group of informed volunteer advocates. It trains volunteers who spend their own money to advocate in Congress and through the media.

Seven people from Eastern Washington joined 600 others to attend a CCL conference June 22-24 in Washington D.C. They learned more about the Fee and Dividend system and how to present the information to Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray and to the staff in Doc Hastings’ and Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ offices.

Two of the members responded to my emails asking why they paid to participate: Steve Ghan and Jim Amonette from the Tri-Cities.

Ghan is a climate scientist who was co-author of three Nobel Peace Prize reports on climate change and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. “I started speaking to the public about climate change three years ago when I saw a deliberate misinformation campaign has confused the public into thinking the issue has not been settled in the scientific community.” He joined the CCL as a private citizen because it is bipartisan and because the Fee and Dividend plan is attractive to all interests.

“The interest was most obvious when every one of the five offices I visited wanted to see the study showing that the CCL solution stimulates the economy. It does seem to be a game changer, and gives me considerable hope that a political solution can be negotiated.”

Hope for congressional action on global warming? That’s unusual. Amonette also is hopeful. He’s a soil chemist who has focused on environmental issues such as reducing the organic carbon released into the atmosphere by tilling the soil. When he realized governments weren’t acting on climate science, he researched how to get involved. CCL “was precisely what I was looking for.”

“The Fee and Dividend approach seemed a much better route than other approaches such as regulation, subsidies and cap-and-trade, none of which do anything to help the average citizen deal with the necessary rise in the cost of energy that comes from a switch from fossil fuels, and all of which are subject to significant political or legal maneuvering that could prevent us from achieving the primary goal. I was also attracted by the grassroots nature of the organization coupled with a very high ethical standard,” Amonette said.

His most memorable experience was hearing former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC). “Here was a rock-ribbed Christian conservative politician who fervently believes that something needs to be done about the climate (and entirely consistent with conservative principles) and lost re-election because of his courageous stand.

Despite that, “I saw progress being made on Capitol Hill towards a nonpartisan common-sense solution to global warming.”

Information on CCL and the Fee and Dividend are at http://citizensclimatelobby.org/about-us/.

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Posted by Empire Press on Jul 16, 2014 in All News, Communities, Community News, Douglas County, Voices

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