Norman, OK, – Five Oklahomans joined 1,000 volunteers from Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) to meet with Congress and staffers on Capitol Hill about climate change. The Lobby Day followed the 8th Annual Citizens’ Climate International Conference on June 11 – 12, attended by concerned scientists and other CCL members from across the U.S., Canada and worldwide.
Volunteering from OKC was Marianne Bacharach, M.D.; from Norman, Mary Francis, Clint Givens, Ph.D., and Julianna Link; and from Lebanon, OK, Lauren Young. They met in 5-to-6-person teams with staff from Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation. One team, led by Marianne Bacharach and including Julianna Link, met directly with Representative Steve Russell (R-OK-05).
The CCL volunteers listened to concerns and advocated for CCL’s proposal – a steadily rising, revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend with the net revenue passed on to households evenly per person as monthly dividends. The fee would be imposed at the well-head, mine, or border. Mary Francis, who led the meeting with Rep. Tom Cole’s staff (R-OK-04) and Rep. Frank Lucas’s staff (R-OK-03), explained economic and greenhouse gas emissions impacts:
“Putting a price on carbon using the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal will make American households wealthier because of the monthly dividend check. It also dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions much better than even the Clean Power Plan”
CCL’s proposal includes a border adjustment designed to comply with international trade agreements. Mary Francis added:
“Any price on carbon must include a plan to protect American businesses from foreign imports by exacting a border adjustment on nations that do not price carbon.”
The volunteers also shared the report, “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends” by a separate organization, the Republican-led Climate Leadership Council, as well as an update on growing support for action on climate in the House Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The Caucus now has 21 Republican and 21 Democratic members after the most recent additions on June 20 of Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA-02) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20).
Julianna Link, a first-time participant, described her experience:
“The best part of making the trip to DC was meeting people from every state who were so well informed and dedicated. It was a pleasure to tell them about the challenges we face in this part of the country and listen to their experiences as well.”
Creating political will and exercising political power are both goals of CCL. Lauren Young, who led the meeting with Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s staff (R-OK-02), was enthusiastic:
“It was exciting to be part of such a growing movement. We all need to come together to work on the future of our home. CCL is paving the way by bringing so many people together from all over to work with our country’s leadership.”
Julianna Link had final thoughts on the CCL Conference and Lobby Day:
“I came away with a strong sense that we are indeed all in this together.”
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on citizen engagement to address climate change through national policies. Mary Francis noted that CCL is exceptional:
“I’ve been active in a multitude of environmentally concerned groups for almost 50 years. None has been as focused on the science or as determined or effective as Citizens’ Climate Lobby.”
There were 500 meetings with Congressional offices on this year’s Lobby Day. During all of 2016, CCL volunteers had over 1,392 meetings with Congressional offices, wrote 40,721 letters to members of Congress, published 2,931 Letters to the Editor and op-eds, and held 2,387 outreach events. Citizens Climate Lobby is dedicated to creating the political will to mitigate global warming and generate a better future for all our children and grandchildren.
Kathy Rand, Ph.D.
Group Leader, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Norman, OK
National website: citizensclimatelobby.org