The purposes of Citizens Climate Lobby are to create the political will for a stable climate & to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power.
From June 22 – 25th, 370 citizen lobbyists from both the U.S. and Canada descended on Washington to learn more about the science of climate change and pricing carbon pollution. The National Conference culminated in lobbying Congress to take action on climate change by putting a straightforward price on carbon, and returning the monies collected to citizens in the form of a rebate. My husband, a family doctor, and I were fortunate to be able to participate in this empowering experience. I would recommend this as a treatment for anyone suffering from climate trauma, and you don’t have to wait until next June; if you come to Ottawa in November you can participate in Canada’s first national CCL conference!
Here’s a great video that shows what CCL is all about:
It was no easy feat trying to keep my cool while racing in my high heels between Congressional and Senate offices in the scorching D.C. heat last Tuesday. More than once I wondered about the wisdom of leaving behind the comfortable Red Lake summer to join nearly four hundred other citizen lobbyists from across the U.S. and Canada who were fanned out across Capitol Hill, making the case to U.S. lawmakers that it was time to put a price on carbon pollution. Was all our effort worth it?
After my last appointment of the day, I walked back to the hotel with George, a commercial fisherman from Alaska. He talked about the devastating impact of the warmer and more acidic ocean on his livelihood. As we said goodbye and I gratefully stepped into the air conditioned hotel lobby, my attention fell on the newspaper headlines about Alberta, where people were losing lives as well as homes during that province’s second “100 year” flood in 8 years. I realized then that although my fellow climate lobbyists and I face an uphill battle to get a carbon fee and dividend bill passed, so did David when he and his slingshot faced off against Goliath. And you know how that story turned out. As Nelson Mandela so powerfully said, “It only seems impossible until it’s done.”
Life feels incredibly busy these days; not only is it gardening season, there’s so much happening on the climate front as well as personally that it’s hard to keep up. I’m preparing to travel to Washington DC this weekend, along with my husband and 19 other Canadian climate activists. We’re going to be joining over 330 people from across the United States who are also concerned about the impacts of climate change for future generations, to lobby for a price on carbon pollution. We Canadians are joining our American CCL colleagues in Washington because the issue of climate change has no borders, and because this is an issue that will impact both of our nation’s economies. Our grassroots organization, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) has over 100 chapters across North America. CCL was formed in 2007 by Grameen Foundation Humanitarian award winner Marshall Saunders, in order to organize and empower citizens to lobby for the political will for a liveable world. CCL volunteers are focusing our lobbying efforts on putting a price on carbon pollution through a carbon fee and dividend.
Cathy Orlando, Canada’s National Manager for CCL feels that it is important for Canadians to lobby in Washington DC because, “the Harper Government has shown us through their actions and in writing that they are intent on aligning Canada’s climate and energy policies with the USA’s policies.”
A recent article over at SkepticalScience.com highlighted Citizens Climate Lobby, and the importance of putting a price on carbon:
Putting a price on carbon emissions is a key climate solution. Failing to price carbon emissions is effectively a massive subsidy, estimated at about $800 billion per year globally by the International Monetary Fund. However, that estimate was based on a carbon damages cost that was recently revised upwards by about 50% by the US government, based on up-to-date economic modeling. Using conservative assumptions, global subsidies for the climate costs of carbon emissions now exceed $1.1 trillion per year, and may be much higher.
The absence of a carbon price to account for those costs is a failure of the free market. It prevents citizens from making informed purchasing decisions, because the actual costs of the products they buy are not accurately reflected in their market prices. When it comes to climate costs, American and Canadian consumers are flying blind. Unfortunately we can’t avoid paying the costs of climate damage forever, and they are reflected in effects like rising food prices when crops are decimated by extreme weather like heat waves and droughts, with contributions from human-caused climate change. (Click here to read the full article on SkepticalScience.com)
The article included videos featuring two different climate scientists discussing CCL’s effectiveness, which I’m reposting here. Dr James Hansen, recently retired from NASA, is in the first video, and Dr Katherine Hayhoe from Texas Tech University is in the second one:
In the midst of all of this week’s busyness came some sad news. A younger cousin of mine who had been struggling with ALS-like symptoms since 2009, passed on earlier this week. Today’s post is dedicated to Rhonda, who will always be an example of courage, grace, and faith in the face of extraordinary challenges. I am humbled by how Rhonda lived her life.
I am away from my computer for two weeks, as my husband and I explore more of one of our favourite places in Canada, Newfoundland (AKA “The Rock”). While I’m away 350orbust will be featuring guest writers and some of my favourite columns revisited, as well as some random stuff that I think is important or makes me happy and I want to share.
Today’s guest blogger is Sharon Howarth. Sharon is the mother of two daughters in their mid-twenties who lives in Toronto, Canada. She, like me, is a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. I invited Sharon to write about her recent trip west, after hearing via the CCL grapevine that she had done the entire trip by bus, and had adventures on the way, as only a climate activist on a mission in oil country can!
At the beginning of August this year, I was on my way home from B.C. The trip was a combination of visiting my daughter and working on my issue, which is the solution to Climate Change. Hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline took place in Prince George on July 9th and 10th which I attended and will write on that a little later.
I traveled by bus from Toronto, which took 3 full days, as I could not in good conscience take an airplane with the huge individual carbon footprint. On my return journey, the bus made a 4 hour stop in Calgary. Being in ‘oil town’ was an opportunity I could not allow to slip through my fingers.
A security guard pointed me in the direction of the city centre. I was told about and found the very busy pedestrian street which held the ‘Home Oil’ tower on one side of the street and the ‘Bank Hall’ tower on the other. Needless to say, the suits were crossing from one tower to the next and I was in the mood for sharing important information and having fun.
I stood in the middle of this suit traffic and, as someone was coming towards me, I looked at them and said, “Stop Climate Change with Carbon Fee and Dividend”. I then pulled out the flyer, which I was holding at my side, and handed it in their direction.
People are so, well, good. I’m sure most were thinking, “This poor woman needs directions”, God bless them. Although a large number did not accept the handout, they all heard what I had to say, and that has tremendous value. And yet, ALL the 120 handouts I had were taken and in very short order. I found I could have used a whole lot more but, unfortunately, I did not have the memory stick with me which held the template of the flyer. Still, what a hoot.
And some say that people are not concerned about climate change !!
It’s been an interesting few weeks on the climate front in North America. With the backdrop of the “Occupy” movement, there were some small changes introduced that hopefully signal the start of an all-out campaign by our elected officials to tackle this issue head-on. First we had the formation of an all-party Climate Caucus in Ottawa, closely followed by the introduction of a bill in the U.S Congress that would place a fee on carbon. Here’s the response of Citizens Climate Lobby, a group dedicated to creating the political will for a sustainable climate, to the latest news out of Washington:
Citizens Climate Lobby Welcomes The Introduction of U.S. Save Our Climate Act
CORONADO, CALIF. – As the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions grows more evident each week, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) welcomed the introduction of Rep. Pete Stark’s (D-CA) Save Our Climate Act as a critical step in efforts to stop the worst effects of climate change.
“We’re running out of time to wean our nation off the fossil fuels that are heating up the planet,” said CCL’s Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We need to put a price on carbon that shifts energy usage to clean sources, and that’s what Congressman Stark’s bill does.”
The Save Our Climate Act, H.R. 3242, would tax coal, oil and gas based on the amount of carbon dioxide these fuels would emit when burned. Starting at $10 per ton of CO2, the tax would increase by $10 each year until CO2 emissions fall to 20 percent of 1990 levels. Most of the revenue from the Save Our Climate Act – an estimated $2.6 trillion in the first 10 years – would be returned to U.S. citizens as an annual rebate to offset higher energy costs. A portion of that revenue — $490 billion – would go toward deficit reduction.
“This is a revenue-neutral approach that Republicans should be able to embrace, as it will not increase the size of government,” said Reynolds. “What it WILL do is move massive amounts of investment money toward clean energy, expanding a sector of the economy that shows the most promise for producing the jobs Americans need.”
News of Stark’s legislation was warmly received in Canada. “We applaud Congressman Stark’s leadership on putting a price on carbon to transition the U.S. to a clean energy economy,” says Cathy Orlando, Project Manager for Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. “If successful they will join Australia and British Columbia on taking effective action on climate change and economic development. It’s time that Canada’s federal government also take similar action.”
The controversy surrounding the bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra has eroded U.S. support for government programs that subsidize clean energy. The Citizens Climate Lobby believes that a clear, predictable price signal on carbon will send private investors to wind, solar and other alternative technologies, reducing the need for government funding for emerging companies.
“When it comes to clean energy, we don’t want to kill the goose that’s laying the golden eggs in our economy. But perhaps somebody besides the federal government can feed the goose, and that’s what we’ll accomplish with a price on carbon,” said Reynolds.
Cameron Fenton from the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition developed this helpful diagram to illustrate the dramatic way the Harper government is shifting taxpayer’s money. In the upside-down world of our current federal government, funding is slashed to programs that benefit all Canadians, like environmental monitoring. Instead, this government prefers to keep padding the pockets of their corporate pals, and to carry on a concerted campaign to turn Canada’s criminal justice system into a clone of the dysfunctional America one by increasing spending on jails by over $500 million. This, at a time when statistics show the Canadian crime rate is dropping, and after this government cut funding to rehabilitative programs like prison farms.
Here’s Cameron’s diagram, reposted with permission. Take a good look at it, fellow Canadians. This is our future if we continue to have Harper as our Prime Minister:
In early March 2011, the federal government of Canada announced that it would be cutting over $10 billion dollars in spending in the upcoming 2011 annual budget. This includes massive cuts to environmental monitoring bodies like Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada. Also included in these cuts is a $2.6 billion cut to employment insurance recipients.
At the same time, spending for the national security apparatus is ballooning, with the military expenditures projected to cross the $20 billion mark this year. The March announcement also included a 10% increase in spending across the board for public safety departments and national security agencies, building on the $7.9 billion forecast to be spent last year. This includes a 21%, or $521.6, million increase in spending on prisons and a 14%, or $227 million, increase in spending at Canadian Border Services.
All the while, the government is also giving away $1.4 billion each year to oil and gas companies, the majority of which goes directly into the Alberta tar sands.
Check out this new video from Citizens Climate Lobby (Toronto) on the same topic: