Article by Guest Contributor, Linda Racine
Susan McCabe and I are volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and we look forward to joining you on February 25 for Let’s Talk Public Policy and Carbon Dioxide, a conversation about what is happening in Washington and how your voice can be heard.
While we face many serious issues that must be addressed–racial and social injustice, poverty, food insecurity–all are made worse by climate change. It threatens the very health of our planet, the health of each of us, and the safety and security of future generations.
What is Citizens’ Climate Lobby?
CCL is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. It was founded in 2007 by Marshall Saunders, who for three decades devoted his time, talent, and financial resources to eradicating poverty through programs designed to help people launch small businesses. When he first learned about climate change, he recognized that global warming already threatened impoverished areas and was undermining efforts to help people rise from poverty. He decided that if he was serious about solutions to poverty, he needed to become serious about solving the climate crisis as well.
Like many people, Marshall initially thought that government would handle the problem. When it became clear it was not up to the task, he decided that the thing to do was to empower people to reclaim their democracy and engage their members of Congress to take action. As Marshall told CCL volunteers in 2013: “We can’t sit around waiting for the cavalry to ride in and save the day — we are the cavalry.”
Marshall founded an organization built on respect, optimism, and positive participation in our democratic processes. CCL operates from “the far middle,” working for nonpartisan, fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions. Today, there are almost 200,000 volunteers in over 600 chapters around the world—over 8,000 volunteers in Michigan.
What’s happening in Washington?
The call for action on climate has been getting stronger over the last few years. State and local governments as well as large corporations (GM, Ford, Consumers Power) have set carbon neutral or net-zero targets. Healthcare professionals, business groups (National Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable), faith communities, and a broad range of organizations and private citizens have advocated for urgent action. Addressing the climate crisis is high on the Biden Administration priority list, and we expect significant legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks and months. Policy strategies vary widely; some include incentives and infrastructure investments, others look at regulations, and others take a carbon-pricing approach. All have important roles in the solution, and all have cautions.
We will review these strategies, then go into detail about why many have come to believe that pricing carbon and returning the revenue to people in a monthly dividend check is a critical part of effective policy. While it is not the ONLY thing that needs to happen, it is an important first step in a comprehensive plan.