Make climate change a bridge issue, not a wedge issue  


Congress climate change advocates

1,200 citizen lobbyists visited the Hill on June 12 to discuss climate change and solutions like Carbon Fee and Dividend

Make climate change a bridge issue, not a wedge issue

WASHINGTON, DC, June 13, 2018 — With contentious midterm elections fast approaching, volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby went to Capitol Hill this week to urge members of Congress to make climate change a bridge issue rather than a wedge issue.

“If there’s one issue that shouldn’t be partisan, it’s climate change,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “Solutions like pricing carbon have to be bipartisan in order to be sustainable over the long term. That can’t happen if either party pushes the other away from the table by making it a wedge issue. Let’s make it a bridge issue.”

About 1,200 citizens from throughout the nation met with 500 offices to push for a market-based approach to solving climate change known as Carbon Fee and Dividend. The plan would place a steadily rising fee on carbon dioxide content of fuels and return all revenue as equal shares to American households.

Volunteers stressed the importance of a bipartisan approach that brings Republicans and Democrats together on climate solutions. Toward that end, CCL has been instrumental in the growth of the Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House, which has 78 members, 39 Republicans and 39 Democrats.

“For too long, climate change has been perceived as a partisan issue, virtually guaranteeing that nothing would get done,” said CCL Vice President for Government Affairs Danny Richter. “Making it a wedge issue in the midterm elections will likely preserve the status quo of that stalemate. We should seize the opportunity to make it a bridge issue that allows Democrats and Republicans to find common ground with each other.”

Before going to the Hill to lobby members of Congress, volunteers had two days of education and training at the 9th Annual Citizens’ Climate International Conference.

First-time lobbyist Kyle Saukas from Vienna, Virginia, found the experience of meeting with congressional offices empowering. “It changed my view of how willing people are to listen to you when you sit down and talk to them. A lot of people care [about climate change] but feel like no one is listening. It was a great opportunity to express myself.”

At a Tuesday evening reception following Hill meetings, first-timer Larry Junck from Ann Arbor, Michigan, shared the news that another Republican agreed to join the Climate Solutions Caucus. “They said that they heard from so many of their constituents and groups supporting this that they felt they had to get involved in action on climate change.”

Also at the reception, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), co-chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus told the audience, “After your trip here to Washington we’ll be, I’m sure, getting closer and closer to a hundred members of the Climate Solutions Caucus… The passion that I feel from the members of this group is what’s driving this debate. This is a time in Washington when we are focused on this issue like we never have in recent memory. That’s because of you. With your help, we are committed to moving forward to tackling climate change, to change how we approach this issue, and that is to once and for all put a price on carbon.”

CONTACT: Steve Valk, 404-769-7461, 

Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.