Kansas Joins Volunteers’ Effort to Price Carbon

Chapter Development Director Lynate Pettengill and Chapter Chair Craig Wolfe have introduced a resolution (see page 8) from the Kansas Chapter to the National Sierra Club Council of Club Leaders to encourage the National Sierra Club Board of Directors to support enactment by Congress of a Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation which would place a fee on carbon emissions and return the proceeds to the American people as a dividend.  Conservation Co-Chair Yvonne Cather played a terrific role in helping move the Kansas Resolution through the Sierra Club bureaucracy.  The article below is about Citizens Climate Lobby and their recent conference in D.C. aimed at this same effort.

As the worst U.S. drought in half a century grips much of the nation and experts point to climate change as a factor, our Director of Development Lynate Pettengill was among the volunteers from around the nation who came to Washington D.C. in late July to ask that Congress put a price on carbon that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Volunteers from the U.S. and Canada attended the Third Annual Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C.  Lynate visited the offices of the Kansas congressional delegation to make the case for a progressive, revenue-neutral tax on carbon.  Legislation for such a tax has been introduced in the U.S. House as the Save Our Climate Act (H.R.  3242)

For Lynate, the Group Leader for the Lawrence Group of CCL, the visits on Capitol Hill left her hopeful that the U.S. could start reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late:

“There is nothing more critical now for us as citizens on the planet.” Lynate says.  “Our recent days talking about climate change with our legislators encourages me to fight all the more.  We must convince our leaders that each day we postpone addressing our carbon and climate change issue, we make our solution more difficult to obtain.  We may already be seeing our climate change.  There is no time to waste.”

At a packed reception held at the end of their first lobbying day, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), co-sponsor of the Save Our Climate Act, told volunteers, “This is about future generations more than it is about us, because things are going to get worse if we don’t dramatically alter the political and legislative trends of this country.”

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who introduced a carbon tax bill in the previous Congress but lost his bid for re-election, spoke to an appreciative crowd about making the case for a carbon tax: , “What you’re here to do is to help people in Congress to see that there are people willing to see the true costs [of fossil fuels]… The conservatives can get into this thing if we can show that this is about free enterprise and accountability.  It’s about fixing market distortions so that true costs are accounted for.”

A few days before CCL’s conference, Inglis launched his Energy & Enterprise Initiative to talk about the conservative rationale for a revenue-neutral carbon tax.  An introductory video on the Initiative’s home page features former Reagan economist Art Laffer.

CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds came away from the week of lobbying buoyed by the prospects for a carbon tax in the next Congress.

“We’ve had some great conversations on the Hill this week with a number of Republican offices, which makes me optimistic that we can get a bi-partisan bill introduced early in the next Congress.  The big topic of the moment right now is the fiscal cliff, but the climate cliff will make that look like a picnic if we don’t put a price on carbon soon.”

More information is available at www.citizensclimatelobby.org.  To become involved in the local efforts, contact Citizens Climate Lobby Group Leaders Lynate Pettengill in Lawrence at lynatepettengill@yahoo.com or Craig Wolfe in Kansas City at info@kansas.sierraclub.org.

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