FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 16, 2020 — This weekend, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) hosted “The Push for a Price On Carbon,” a free virtual conference for climate advocates across the country. The event took place on Airmeet, where 2,126 advocates attended. Hundreds of other viewers tuned in via livestreams on Twitter and YouTube, for a total of more than 2,900 climate-concerned citizens participating in the event.
The opening plenary session featured remarks from Jerry Taylor, the President of Niskanen Center, weighing in on the need for bipartisan climate legislation and Republican engagement. “The only reason we don’t have more ambitious climate policy is because of Republican opposition, full stop,” Taylor said. “We need substantial Republican support to get to where we want to go.”
From his own conservative perspective, Taylor gave a blunt take on the current state of the Republican Party (“culture war theater, unhinged conspiracy peddling, white grievance politics”). Despite those challenges, Taylor says there are a dozen Republicans in the Senate and roughly three dozen in the House who “have leaned into the case for climate action in the Republican Party.”
“If we want to see the Republican Party join us in the cause for climate action, we need to return the Republican Party to health. That is a prerequisite for having a reasonable political conversation in the GOP,” Taylor said. He went on to make recommendations for how climate advocates could support that shift, as well as highlighting some encouraging signs he sees.
Then Clara Fang, CCL’s Student Engagement Director, welcomed Jasmine Sanders, Executive Director of Our Climate, for a conversation about youth, climate action, and carbon pricing, or what Sanders and her organization call “corporate polluter fees.”
“Our Climate advocates for science-based and equitable climate policy rooted in three areas: corporate polluter fees, environmental justice legislation, and renewable energy targets,” Sanders explained. “We’ve trained over 1,500 young leaders to become powerful advocates in their communities.” Hear more from Sanders beginning at 26:50 in this video.
After a second round of breakouts focused on building skills and taking action, the climate conference wrapped up with a closing plenary featuring Adele Morris, policy director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution. She emphasized the need for the Biden administration to engage on carbon pricing.
Following the conference, CCL volunteers are now conducting hundreds of virtual lobby meetings with their members of Congress. The goal of those meetings is to ask members of Congress to support an ambitious economy-wide carbon price.
There are five carbon pricing bills under consideration in the Senate and the House right now, including the brand new Save Our Future Act from Sen. Whitehouse and several of his colleagues. With so much interest on the Hill, plus a broad grassroots coalition backing this policy approach, the political landscape looks more favorable than ever to pass an economy-wide price on pollution. To date in 2021, CCL volunteers have held 687 meetings with Senate and House offices.