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Want To Solve Climate Change? Tell Congress.

Want To Solve Climate Change? Tell Congress.

Want To Solve Climate Change? Tell Congress.

Worried about climate change, but don’t know what to do?  That’s where I was a few years ago.  I had a fuel-efficient car, replaced my incandescent bulbs with CFLs and LEDs and even have a solar hot water system, but it’s not enough.  There’s just too much carbon in everything we buy.  The computer I’m using to write this has a carbon footprint.  The food we eat has a carbon footprint.  If we are going to reduce emissions of heat trapping greenhouse gasses, we need policies that encourage everyone, especially the companies that make all the stuff we buy, to reduce their use of fossil fuels.

There’s an incredibly powerful force that can accomplish this.  The market.  Put a price on carbon and you watch, people will figure out how to use less of it.  I was visiting eastern Long Island a couple of years ago where you have to pay 5 cents for a single use plastic bag.   Suddenly, people figured out how to do reduce their use of plastic bags.

That concept will work for fossil fuels.  A plan to do just that was introduced in the last Congress.  The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (energyinnovationact.org) will require fossil fuel companies to pay a price for their carbon pollution and use the money collected to pay monthly cash dividends to households.  This plan will create jobs and speed the transition to a clean energy economy.  It will also increase most people’s income, particularly low and middle income households.

The carbon dividend plan on which the legislation is based was first proposed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Citizens’ Climate Lobby: Take Action on Climate Change Solutions. CCL is an international grassroots organization that lobby’s Congress for effective bipartisan solutions to reduce the risk of climate change.  A legislature had to enact the 5-cent fee on plastic bags on Long Island.  Only Congress can enact a plan at the scale needed to transition to a clean energy economy in the time we have.  That’s why CCL volunteers persistently and respectfully encourage members of Congress to act on climate change.

Changing light bulbs is good, but the individual action that will really solve this problem is helping to get Congress to act.  I saw a bumper sticker a few years ago that said, “If the People Lead, the Leaders will Follow.”  It’s true.  Want action?  Tell Congress, persistently and respectfully.

Bill Blancato is an attorney and mediator in Winston-Salem, NC and has been a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby since 2013. He helped start the Winston-Salem chapter in 2014 and has served as a regional coordinator since 2016. Bill has written dozens of op-eds and letters to the editor about climate change and has travelled to DC many times to lobby on the issue.