Legislative Update for September 2014

Biggest concern with carbon pricing: What about other countries?

Citizens Climate Lobby at World Bank

CCL Strategic Director Joe Robertson at World Bank

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from a review of our 2014 conference meeting notes with MOC’s and hill staffers was the concern about how our policy would affect our position in the world. This was manifest in questions about how the border adjustment portion of our policy would work, whether or not it would be compatible with WTO law, and what China, India and other world players are doing. Accordingly, your Legislative and Science Director has been dedicating an increasing amount of time to addressing these concerns, and getting responses into your hands. The first of these tools is a laser talk using World Bank data called “Carbon Prices Around the World”. Bottom line of the talk: Countries responsible for nearly 50% of global carbon emissions, including 8 of the 10 largest economies in the world, already have a carbon price mechanism planned or in place. Thanks to DC intern Elizabeth Wallace for writing the laser talk! https://citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-prices-around-world/

Carbon fee impact on households

Another concern often expressed by MoC’s and their staffers was the effect the fee would have on both energy and consumer goods prices, particularly for families already struggling. Thanks to CCL volunteer Phil Blackwood, we now have a tool to illustrate just how little they would be affected, if at all. It is located on CCL community. Go to Phil’s member profile and click on “Household Budgets with Fee and Dividend 6-6-2014.” It explains how the dividend is computed in year 4 when the carbon fee would be $45. The powerpoint provides a comparison of three households and computes a family’s possible net gain or loss based on their lifestyle using census, EPA, and other government sources. All calculations are included. We as an organization need to devote more time to a good answer, but Phil’s work represents a great start!

Opportunity to connect with members of Congress

Members of Congress have returned to Washington for the month of September, but October will send those running in mid-term elections back to their home states to campaign. This means that our volunteers in-district have the advantage over the next few months in terms of access to MoCs. What can you do to convince them that, in addition to common sense, it makes political sense to address climate? Proclaiming themselves FOR efforts to mitigate climate change will actually help them win elections. See the next report.

Winning votes on climate change

What does it cost in election votes for a GOP to proclaim themselves as pro-climate? Nothing much, according to results culled by our DC intern Ross Ladau from three separate studies. According to a study done by Stanford researchers, Democratic and Republican Candidates can gain voters and win elections by campaigning on the climate change issue. In a survey asking adults how they would vote among hypothetical candidates, it was found that 77% of people would vote for a candidate who made a statement calling for action on climate change compared to 53% for a candidate that is silent on the issue (the control), and 48% for a candidate that denies climate change. The results get even more interesting when breaking out the parties. Read the full laser talk, titled “All Politicians Can Win with Cliamte” here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/all-politicians-can-win-with-climate.

Imitation of CCL is the sincerest form of flattery

We’re excited to hear that the The Environmental Defense Action Fund, the political arm of the EDF, is rolling out a seven-figure ad campaign to aid green-minded Republicans in the midterm elections. This is part of a longer-term effort to find GOP partners on priorities like climate change. In fact, it’s willing to champion Republican allies even at the expense of Democrats. If it works, it would offer a break from the growing partisan split that green issues have encountered in recent years. Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/environmental-defense-action-fund-gop-110021.html

“We want to create competition between the parties to be better on environmental issues, and that’s how we’re going to get to more ambitious action,” said Tony Kreindler, the Environmental Defense Action Fund’s senior director for strategic communications. You can see part of the ad campaign here:

A September Opportunity

Post-primary Republicans who are feeling a bit more comfortable with their positions are more likely to be able to take a moderate position on climate change. It’s a good time for another conversation, don’t you think? October will be filled with campaign events, town halls, and meetings in the district offices with staff. Be prepared to ask questions of both Democrats and Republicans at these events, and don’t show favor to one party or the other; CCL is non-partisan after all. When you ask a question, try to structure it in a way that makes them look good while also taking a stand on climate. In true CCL fashion, we don’t want to embarrass them, we want treat them with appreciation for the difficulties of campaigning, and respect for accepting the slings and arrows of seeking public office.

Arcane Congressional Rule of the Month

If a senator in his speech refers offensively to any state of the Union or reflects adversely on a senator, or says something unbecoming a senator, while you can’t make a point of order you can rise and say: “Mr. President, I call for the regular order,” without being recognized. That calls a halt there.