WASHINGTON, July 30 – As the worst U.S. drought in half a century grips much of the nation and experts point to climate change as a factor, volunteers from Coronado, California, came to the nation’s capital last week to ask that Congress put a price on carbon that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Coronado residents Marshall and Pamela Saunders, Charlie and Susan Higgins and Nancy Tortorice joined volunteers from the U.S. and Canada attending the Third Annual Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C. They visited the offices of California’s congressional delegation and delegations of other states to make their 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 Susan Higgins, a volunteer with the Coronado chapter 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:
“When I mentioned to a Congressman or an aide how much CCL has grown in the past year, and how our CCL numbers in Washington that week had doubled from last year, I felt like we had their attention. More and more there was a lot of interest in finding out how CCL can help Washington introduce a carbon tax as a political winner. “
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.”
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