Learning climate policy from the experts

Nicole Crescimanno (right) attended the 2017 Advanced Climate Policy Camp and encourages CCLers to attend this year's camp.

Nicole Crescimanno (right) attended the 2017 Advanced Climate Policy Camp and encourages CCLers to attend this year’s camp.

Learning climate policy from the experts

By Nicole Crescimanno

I’ve been an active Citizens’ Climate Lobby member since the fall of 2012 and the NYC chapter co-leader since the spring of 2013. Leading meetings, attending regional and international conferences, and practicing laser talks have all contributed to my knowledge of Carbon Fee and Dividend and climate policy. I knew the basics of a border tax adjustment, the results of the REMI report, and how CCL’s carbon pricing policy will affect energy prices. I felt comfortable explaining these concepts to my chapter members, at tabling events, and during presentations. When I saw the registration link for the Advanced Climate Policy Camp on Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s website in the spring of 2017, I immediately knew I wanted to participate.

2017 Advanced Climate Policy Camp

Brett Cease, CCL’s Volunteer Education and Engagement Coordinator, addresses some of the attendees of the 2017 Advanced Climate Policy Camp.

Before participating in the Advanced Climate Policy Camp in June of 2017, I didn’t know how international trade law allows a border tax adjustment to work, or the major statutory authorities that have paved the way for protecting our natural resources including the EPA, the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, or the barriers to Distributed Energy Resources.

By the end of the three-day camp, 70 other CCL members and I understood details about international trade law, public service commissions, and utilities, and we came away with the ability to answer complicated policy questions. It was wonderful to bond with other passionate climate advocates from across the United States during coffee breaks and over meals. I had the opportunity to meet CCLers from Arkansas to Wisconsin and learn about their successes and struggles.

With Citizens’ Climate Lobby Governing Board President Ross Astoria facilitating the workshop, we were taught and engaged by experts in the field, including Cooper Martin, the Program Director of Sustainable Cities Institute, Catrina Rorke from R Street Institute, and David Houle from the University of Michigan.

Advanced Climate Policy Camp lobbying

After the Advanced Climate Policy Camp, Nicole Crescimanno (right) lobbied on the Hill with Kaia Rose, a NYC CCL chapter member and liaison to Rep. Espaillat’s office.

For me, the most exciting and rewarding part of the Advanced Climate Policy Camp was participating in the day-long simulated climate negotiations, which required a group of stakeholders to agree on a state mitigation plan. This experiential learning exercise allowed us to put our new knowledge into action and step into the role of a specific stakeholder. I was on the team representing a residential town in a fictional midwestern state. Along with my team members, I negotiated with others representing the interests of the steel industry, the power utility, the manufacturing industry, environmental justice groups, big green groups, and local town representatives in order to determine how we would reduce greenhouse gas emission with money awarded to the state by money collected from a federal carbon tax. This very interactive exercise encouraged participants to engage with everyone in the room to discuss ways the state could reduce emissions.

This year, the organization I work for, Our Climate, is co-hosting the camp as well as offering fellowships for young student leaders to attend. All of this year’s fellowship slots have been filled with college students and millennial climate leaders eager to gain important knowledge and skills that will allow them to be more effective carbon pricing advocates.

If you’ve been looking to dive deeper into a subject after participating in a communication practice, or have been stumped by a question you received while presenting or tabling, the Advanced Climate Policy Camp is for you!

The 2018 Advanced Climate Policy Camp takes place in Washington, D.C., on June 6-8. The deadline to sign up is Friday, May 18, 2018. Register now!

Nicole Crescimanno is the New York State Director for Our Climate and the co-leader of CCL’s NYC chapter.