CAN WE INNOVATE OUR WAY OUT OF OUR CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGES?
While opinions differ and climate change believers and non- believers gird their loins for battle, most people agree that climate change is happening now. This is one of the inevitable conclusions that the latest Intergovernment Panel On Climate Change annual report presents. The report states that "Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society." Put simply, the scientific consensus makes it clear that climate change is everyone's problem. This, in turn, means that the only viable solution is for all of us to become actively committed to work for a solution.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. While the report, and many other scientific studies, reveal a building crisis and accelerating timeline, active engagement of large portions of the population is still the exception, not the norm. Here in the US we still have a long way to go to enlist the numbers we need to achieve the level of positive and directed activity that is necessary for a successful campaign to defang climate change. To some degree this is understandable because of our current political crisis. However, we need to do more than just blame Trump and his gang. This can be momentarily satisfying but, as is almost always the case, anger and negative thinking rarely produce effective action and positive results
For committed environmentalists this is an especially galling situation. The fact of the matter is that we have known for decades, maybe more, how to avert the disaster that is bearing down on us. The basic building block of a brighter future is to stop burning fossil fuels. Energy from wind and solar can work. These energy sources are now able to compete economically with burning coal, oil, natural gas and other dirty fuels. There is no question that we have the means to work our way out of this looming disaster. However, the jury is still out whether we can generate the societal will and political power.
WHAT WE CAN DO
The good news is that a brighter, cleaner future can come about, probably as a result of innovation. This will mean combining new ideas and activities with proven solutions. If we start down this road our ability, as a culture and a species, can enable us to prevail.
One of the most outstanding and effective organizations in this movement is the Citizens Climate Lobby. This organization focuses on lobbying, mostly in Washington, for its climate change legislation. It began its work in 2007 and now numbers over 100,000 committed and effective volunteers in over 500 local chapters. CCL is a grassroots organization which energizes and empowers volunteers to work together on developing and implementing unique climate change solutions. CCL supporters are united in a lobbying campaign that works for national solutions to the challenges of solving climate change. Under the guidance of experienced lobbyists, some of whom are professional staff, CCL can energize its base to educate and motivate decision-makers in Washington.
Currently CCL's activities revolve around a bill entitled Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This legislation is currently co-sponsored by a growing bipartisan group of US Senators and members of Congress. The bill has two major components:
"THE FEE: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will put a fee on all oil, gas and coal we use in the United States. The fee is based on the greenhouse gas emissions that companies and other users produce. It will make clean energy cheaper and more attractive than dirty, polluting energy, therefore driving down America's emissions and slowing climate change. The fee starts low at $15 per ton of CO2 and grows steadily, increasing $10 per ton annually, giving businesses time to adjust and make smart investments for the future.
THE DIVIDEND: The money from the fee will be allocated equally and directly to people as a monthly rebate. Most American households will end up with more money in their pockets to spend as they see fit, which helps low and middle income Americans. Former U.S. Treasury Economist Allen Lerman conducted a Dividend Delivery Study in 2017 to explore exactly how this type of dividend could be administered. This policy will reduce America's emissions by at least 40% within 12 years. It is supported by economists and scientists as a simple, comprehensive, and effective policy. There is no doubt that this organization is effectively working toward our preferred future. Click here to visit the Citizens Climate Lobby website to find out how we can help this organization in its important and satisfying work.
It is also clear that many other citizen-based organizations are major players. Click here for the results of a Google Search for citizens environmental lobbying.
For a wider range of opinions and scientific interpretations on the new climate report click here for the results of a Google search.