President Obama has said repeatedly that if Congress does not send him legislation to implement market-based solutions for climate change, he will use executive and regulatory powers to act. Congress holds back from acting on climate change because many members are concerned about attack ads or primary challengers funded by fossil fuel interests. Consequently the U.S. gets more regulations and business uncertainty as regulations and executive actions are challenged in the courts.
While many Democrats would act on climate legislation, the Republican Party has refused to accept the scientific findings on climate change much less push for legislation to address it. Recently, however, two things have happened that suggest fissures may be opening in the stalemate on climate. In September, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and 10 Republican cosponsors introduced a resolution that recognizes the impact of climate change and calls for action to reduce future risk. In October, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced “formation of a Senate Energy and Environment Working Group that will focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.” Ayotte was joined by three other Republican senators in forming the group.
While cynics will say these moves are motivated solely by election year political considerations, they nonetheless offer concerned citizens and clean energy interests opportunities to take officeholders at their word and lobby both groups for the types of market-based approaches President Obama could sign.
On November 14 Citizens’ Climate Lobby will sponsor an afternoon teach-in on market-based approaches to address climate change. The teach-in will focus on climate change science, economics, and the legislative landscape. It will feature Dr. James Hansen, Columbia professor and former NASA Chief Climate Scientist; Steve Curwood, Living on Earth Producer and Host; Mark Reynolds, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Executive Director; and Scott Nystrom, Senior Economic Associate with Regional Economic Models, Inc.
For those interested in taking a deeper dive and becoming highly effective advocates of market-based solutions, CCL is offering training sessions as part of a day-and-a-half regional conference the same weekend. Sessions offered will cover how to engage the media to keep calls for climate action in the news; moving political opinion through effective dialogue; making the most of town hall meetings with candidates; regional climate change impacts; and understanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Both events will be held at the Courtyard by Marriot, 2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, NH. Please direct questions to Gary Rucinski, CCL’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, at Gary@CitizensClimateLobby.org.