A Little Hope from my Friends.
THREE HUNDRED ordinary folks gathered over the weekend in Oakland, plotting to overthrow climate complacency. And, they have a plan. But first, let’s review the bad news complacency ignores…
IT’S THAT annoying little 800,000 year atmospheric CO2 chart. The 350 boundary at the top of the blue box represents the highest level for climate stability. That little red asterisk in the upper right corner (400 ppm) indicates the beginning of severe climate instability. We’re now at 410. And rising. Even with all the prestigious climate summits and celebrated international agreements, we are still increasing our output of CO2 every year. So that rising red line on the right side actually represents a death spiral. We are causing it. And, we can’t seem to stop ourselves.
More bad news.
TO SURVIVE with any dignity, we need to transform our energy infrastructure from carbon to renewables. Drastically. And quickly. A forty percent reduction of CO2 emissions in just 12 years. This will involve fundamental change, which can be traumatic and disorienting for many. That’s why it hasn’t happened yet. More to the point, it will only happen if we, the people, rise up in overwhelming force and demand it.
Now, some good news.
FIRST, we can rise up in overwhelming force if we choose to.
Second, I’ve discovered that the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) offers the simplest, most elegant and least painful carbon reduction plan—and a brilliant strategy for implementing it. All it needs is more ordinary people like you and me to make it happen.
Their plan is to implement a nationally-legislated carbon fee, charged where the carbon enters the economy (oil companies, etc.), that increases every year. Gasoline, for example, would go up about 15 cents a gallon the first year, and continue increasing every year after that, creating an incentive to drive less or purchase more efficient vehicles. But purchase them with what?
That’s part of the genius of this plan. ALL of the money collected will be returned equally to the people every month, like a Social Security check. People would be free to spend it however they choose, but the financial incentive would be to cut rising energy costs—stimulating the economy and green innovation, technology and millions of new jobs.
Nobel-Prize-winning economists predict this plan will cut carbon emissions by 40 percent in 12 years, the target we need to meet—and are currently not meeting or even beginning to approach.
The second part of their plan is where you and I come in. For this to happen, congress must be lobbied by we the people. They must be overwhelmed (in a positive way) or will either continue to avoid fundamental change for fear of being thrown out of office or implement a watered down, more complex and ineffective version to protect special interests. Either way, we lose—along with our planetary support system.
CCL’s strategy is to establish a bipartisan volunteer chapter in every legislative district and they’ve nearly achieved that goal in just ten years. And, from those chapters, to engage everyday citizens as lobbyists.
Their approach is right out of Gandhi’s playbook: positive, peaceful and effective. The only thing it needs to succeed is more volunteers…
It’s up to me and it’s up to you.