By Shannon Sampson
The San Marcos chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) consists of volunteer community members who are passionate about their group’s solution to climate reform.
CCL is a national, nonprofit organization consisting of thousands of local chapters. CCL has a solution to stabilize the climate that will also boost the economy and bring a nonpartisan approach to climate reform. The group feels that non-partisanship is the most effective mindset for all those committed to climate reform.
“We work with whoever is in office and we don’t badmouth the people who are in office,” said local chapter member Jeff Baker.
Through experience, this group has found that the quickest way to influence change within the government is to come to them with solutions and not just problems.
“We are rabidly nonpartisan because we want legislation and legislation is going to require efforts from both parties,” said chapter member Emily Northrop. “Our job is to create political will in acting on climate change that is more effective than influential.”
The proposed CCL solution consists of carbon fees and dividends. This organization believes that placing steadily increasing fees on fossil fuels directly from the source and returning 100 percent of the revenue back to American households can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in 20 years and save 200,000 lives from improved air quality, as well as provide economic growth.
Northrop said CCL’s approach focuses on market-based solutions.
“Right up front, it is a conservative approach,” she said. “What makes it conservative is that it is a market driven focus based on sound economics. Our policy does not pick winners or losers, it creates jobs and increases GDP, and unleashes American entrepreneurs… if you want less pollution, make it more expensive to pollute.”
According to CCL research, by mid century Texas will experience an increase in hot days (95 degrees or warmer), which is going to lead to 2,850 heat-related deaths. Texas will also see a foot-and-a-half to two-feet rise in sea level which will cost more in storm-related damages, as well as a decrease of worker productivity.
“In the absence of a policy, the near-term cost of recoveries is in the millions,” Northrop said. “More [money] is being spent on adapting. In the long run, this is going to cost the economy.”
For the average person living in the U.S., this plan will increase their purchasing power. A 2014 Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) study of CCL’s solution declared that in 2016 average households will receive a dividend of about $40, whereas with increased living costs the dividends will come out to around $400 by 2030. The solution is meant for dividends to not be negatively offset due to rising costs of living. Those with higher incomes will not be affected by this dividend.
“[Lower classes] don’t have big houses that they are paying to heat. They aren’t taking a lot of plane trips and generally not buying as much stuff,” Northrop said. “The people at the lower end are much more likely to come out ahead and we think that’s attractive because it’s a policy that will take care of those with lower incomes.”
Chapter members actively communicate with government representatives to promote their solution. This group has traveled to the District of Columbia to meet with government officials directly and are currently in the district proposing their plans to representatives.
Featured image by KTSW Multimedia.