Colombia joins the CCL global family
By Cathy Orlando
On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the first Colombia chapter of CCL launched in the capital city of Bogotá at Piloto University of Colombia. Laura Morales led the group. Laura is an ecologist, specializing in Urban Environmental Management, and a Climate Reality leader.
Laura had previously volunteered with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Boca Raton. “Louis is doing a great job,” she said of the Boca Raton group leader. “I learned a lot, participated in different events and also attended the workshop from CCL.”
Colombia’s government implemented a carbon tax in June of this year, which prices carbon at $5 per ton. CCL Bogotá determined they want to keep working on Colombia’s carbon price and seeing it effectively reduce emissions in Colombia.
First meeting & lobby opportunity
In the first meeting of CCL Bogotá, Laura shared a short introduction, set the context of climate change effects, and laid out CCL’s goals, actions, and accomplishments worldwide. They also focused on the CCL solution: Carbon Fee and Dividend. Then they joined the November 2017 “monthly meeting,” which featured guest speaker Maj. Gen. Rick Devereaux who discussed climate change and national security.
CCL Bogotá members are an interdisciplinary group with a big interest in learning about climate change, environmental policies and the actions of the CCL. Some of the volunteers have a strong background working in the environmental field, which will no doubt fuel a rich discussion about climate solutions and building political will.
Since their first meeting, they have had their first official lobbying opportunity with some of Colombia’s presidential candidates at a debate named “Encuentro por el agua,” which translates to “Meeting for water.” Additionally, they had the first meeting with the staff of Senator and presidential candidate Jorge Robledo, and more meetings are being planned for the upcoming days with other senators.
Laura said, “Colombia is setting up a precedent with a carbon tax, but since our country only contributes with 0.4% of greenhouse gas emissions, our commitment with the Paris agreement needs to be articulated with other strategies, such as adaptation plans and reduction of deforestation rates. And even when we’re not facing climate change denial in Colombia, there’s still a lot of work to do to see environmental policies reflected in reality. Environmental and policy education is crucial, not just for common citizens but for our leaders and decision makers.”
After her first meeting, Laura sent out English and Spanish bulletins honoring the momentous occasion of Colombia’s first official CCL meeting. She expressed gratitude to the following people: The Environmental Science Faculty at Piloto University, Bibian García (research coordinator at Piloto University), Tami Kellogg (Regional Coordinator of CCL Latin America), Cathy Orlando (CCL International Outreach Manager), Louis Merlin (CCL Group leader Boca Raton, FL) and Briana Smith (membership coordinator at CCL).