Volunteers Discuss Potential of New Carbon Dividend Legislation
Bi-partisan deliberation, collaboration and respect for opposing views are the keys to addressing climate change in meaningful ways, volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) told a group in Fargo on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.
Four volunteers from CCL’s North Wind Region visited North Dakota to kick-start the discussion here. Their Fargo presentation was the final stop in a week-long, six-event “climate conversation tour” of the state, which included a presentation of a new bill in Congress that could have a major impact on the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
“Wherever we go, interested people show up and are always curious about how Citizens’ Climate Lobby operates,” CCL North Wind Regional Coordinator Paul Thompson said. “The culture of North Dakota is unique due to its heavy dependence on fossil fuels. That’s why more bi-partisan discussion and training needs to happen here.”
Brad Kingery, a CCL volunteer from Bemidji, Minn., agreed. “People are just looking for a way to join the conversation,” he said. “We all just need to keep our minds open. We feel we have a great solution; we just have to share it with people.”
The solution, which has been kicked around for years, became much more concrete on November 28, when five members of the U.S. House of Representatives – three Democrats and two Republicans – introduced H.R. 7173, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
According to CCL, if the act becomes law it will create more than 2 million new jobs, lower health-care costs, promote energy innovation and encourage consumer spending. More importantly, it will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas “…by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years.”
“It does so by applying a nationwide price on carbon emissions and returning the revenue to people each month,” said a CCL press release. “This approach is a climate change solution long advocated by both economists and climate scientists as the simplest, most effective approach to solving climate change.”
It’s unlikely there will be any action on H.R. 7173 during the lame-duck session of Congress currently underway. However, the sponsors plan to reintroduce the bill in the next Congress.
In the meantime, the bill provided something positive and concrete to discuss with North Dakotans.
“Citizens’ Climate Lobby is very solution-focused,” said Linda Kingery of Bemidji. “The organization and the way we do things are very connected to the value of optimism.”
A CCL handout outlined how the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will limit carbon pollution by the United States:
Thompson said open discussions between people and legislative representatives with differing opinions and points of view will help change the “culture of dismantling” in Washington, D.C., where one presidential administration or controlling political party tears down what its predecessor accomplished. And that, he said, is the only way to drive lasting change.
About Citizens’ Climate Lobby
“Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.” It’s volunteers “…are organized into hundreds of local chapters across the US and around the world.” CCL’s North Wind Region comprises Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
© 2018 Martin C. Fredricks IV