At the March 20 Tri-Valley Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) meeting, the senior policy director for Ceres, also known as Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), spoke via video on climate change and how to be part of the solution. Ceres, a coalition of leading consumer-facing companies, advocates for meaningful climate and energy policy at the local, state and federal level.

Speaker Ann Kelly complimented citizen climate lobby groups for their huge contribution in discussions with people toward normalizing the notion of carbon pricing no matter what their political affiliation.

Despite the political struggle over climate change, at the state level, reforms have been made across the country. When lawmakers do the right thing concerning climate change, they need to hear appreciation in the form of letters to the editor in local papers, as well as correspondence at the state and federal levels. Kelly urged her listeners to make direct calls and visits thanking lawmakers for doing the right thing on climate action, for saying, “We have your backs.”

Republicans stood up last July and filed a bill to tax carbon. According to Kelly, that was monumental and a game changer. Taxing what you burn and not what you earn was a powerful message. The current political entanglements, no matter how profound and painful they are now, have occurred before. She reminded the group of the problems President Roosevelt had with massive resistance to the New Deal. The green new deal has energized the movement to work on climate change. However, the needs of the most vulnerable populations and communities of color have not been taken into account. These communities have been most affected by environmental burdens front and center, but have not been included in the conversations. The most vulnerable countries are the most touched by what the rich countries have placed on them.

Keep the message simple, repeat it often as a credible messenger to normalize the message, for example, “A carbon fee helps you and me”. She stated, “We need to talk to both the Republicans and the Democrats and especially the younger generation who will ultimately be the most affected by climate change in the future.

“Reaching out to businesses in your districts is helpful. Businesses want to know that taking a position will not hurt their customer base. Larger businesses are making this decision politically, since engagement could become harmful for their bottom line. Trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers all have strong lobbies on Capitol Hill when it comes to information concerning the negative effects on businesses if climate change initiatives are enacted.

She continued, “All economists believe that pricing carbon is the most efficient way to handle the problem and the dividend to the people is great. One problem involves getting the price right. Up to now, the cap that must be negotiated with polluting energy producers has been too high to reach an agreement. To make this work there has to be some amount of trade off. In addition, removing barriers and rewarding action on clean energy has to be recognized.”

Tri-Valley CCL co-group leader Ann Brown recommended the book “Draw Down” by Paul Hawken, which discusses plans to reverse global warming. She also mentioned that Livermore Earth Day will be Saturday, April 20th with many events planned, including a Tri-Valley CCL table outside the library, open garden sites and a screening of “Wilder Than Wild-Fire, Forests and the Future”.