Citizens Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Chapters exist globally, although the majority are in the United States. The Blacksburg chapter, which is now called Citizens Climate Lobby of the New River Valley, was established two years ago by Alaina Coppa and Ingrid Mans and has 181 local supporters. Monthly meetings occur where members and guests share information relative to the purpose of the organization and the science of climate change and global warming.
The purpose of the organization is to empower citizens to create political will for a livable world. More specifically, CCL focuses on promoting what it believes to be the single most effective first step addressing the climate crisis: a national carbon fee and dividend policy.
Such a policy has recently been introduced in the House of Representatives, called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act [H.R. 763]. It has bipartisan support in Congress and throughout the country. The EICDA, which you can read on the internet at https://energyinnovationact.org/, charges a fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions assessed on fossil fuels as far upstream as possible: i.e. the mine, well or port of entry (for imports). The fee charged will rise by $10 per metric ton each year. To protect American jobs, a Border Carbon Adjustment is imposed on countries with which we trade; other nations with a weaker carbon price, or no price at all, will have a surcharge placed on their imports to our country, while American exports receive a rebate. This is meant to discourage outsourcing of American jobs, and it also encourages our trade partners to adopt a carbon price like our own. The EICDA is revenue-neutral in that fees collected are distributed as dividends to families. These dividends will offset the increased price of electricity and fuel.
The expected outcome of the EICDA is to increase innovation, efficiencies and renewables and, by doing so, create jobs, lower CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, and create a cleaner and healthier environment while helping to mitigate climate change. It is estimated that the policy will reduce America’s CO2 emissions by 40% within the first 12 years and will create 2.1 million new jobs. Many economists and climate scientists support the Act.
There are five core activities that all Citizens Climate Lobby chapters leverage to bring citizens into the political process and to ensure their contribution is constructive. These core activities are called the “levers of political will.”
1. Lobbying: We train citizens how to lobby in support of our carbon fee and dividend proposal by building friendly relationships with our federally elected representatives.
2. Media relations: We train citizens how to engage with and influence the media. We write letters to the editor and op-eds, meet with editorial boards and work to place stories in all forms of media.
3. Grassroots outreach: We recruit and educate the public on climate solutions, citizen advocacy and how to participate with one’s government.
4. Grasstops outreach: We seek to educate, build partnerships with and gain the support of community leaders and nongovernmental organizations, both nationally and locally.
5. Chapter development: It is through the growth and management of the local CCL group/chapter that it becomes possible to push on the other four levers for building political will.
The CCL of the New River Valley has been actively giving talks to civic organizations and retirement communities. The talks serve as a time to both educate and allow for questions by participants. Members hold tabling sessions at local libraries, and most recently at the Floyd Energy Fest. We also seek support from community leaders, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations. Members plan to meet with local government officials to acquaint them with CCL and the EICDA. Local CCL members have met with Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith, who was recently appointed by House leadership to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Two members of the local chapter, Ingrid Mans and Peter Greider, went to Washington, D.C., this past June along with 1,500 members from other areas of the country to attend workshops and spend a day lobbying members of Congress.
CCL has an excellent website containing detailed information about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, as well as other resources. Go to https://citizensclimatelobby.org/ .
Area residents are encouraged to attend a local CCL meeting. Most meetings occur on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Blacksburg Library, but the November meeting will be on the third Wednesday — Nov. 20 — at 6 p.m. at the Christiansburg Library.
To find out about upcoming CCL meetings or events, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.