Citizens Climate Lobby

Elli Sparks, Field Development Director of Citizens Climate Lobby, joined us at our monthly conference call on September 14, 2017.
Paul Thompson, CCL's NorthWinds Region Coordinator and RPCV member, also provided great motivation and information.

Selected highlights

  • We are the grandchildren that have been left with the problem [of climate change].
  • Action is the antidote to the “climate blues”, the stress of understanding the magnitude of the problem. Join Citizens Climate Lobby, preferably using the long form accessible from the blue button in the center of the background photo.
  • There are three things going for CCL:
    • A legislative proposal vetted by scientists, reviewed by policy experts and assessed by independent economists (carbon fee and dividend)
    • Proven methodology for working with Congress (or other legislative agency), now with 426 chapters worldwide, including 66 in Europe
    • A founder (Marshall Saunders) who set values and guiding principles.
  • Congress has these options on the environment:
    • Status quo - do nothing, and wait to see what happens, the most expensive option.
    • Regulation - requires boots on the ground, and many eyes on emissions and budget; only regulates the largest polluters.
    • Cap and trade - includes regulation (cap on pollution) and trade (creates artificial market); end result is a fluctuating energy market, in the experience of the EU.
    • Subsidies - Government backs what they believe is winning technology, but government is not the best agency to select business winners/losers.
    • Carbon tax - like a tobacco tax, it is good at changing behavior, but slows the economy.
    • Carbon fee and dividend - Revenue neutral and most favorable to Congress; 100% of the fee must go to the consumer in order to restore integrity to the markets; good at promoting behavior change for individuals as purchase costs increase, and for companies due to loss in market share; will add 2.8M jobs; will decrease deaths by 230K due to better health; will decrease carbon emissions to <50% of 1990 levels within 20 years.
  • Methodology - CCL's techniques to get Congress to move
    • Direct lobby teams
    • Local media - letters to editor, etc.
    • Grassroots outreach
    • Grasstops outreach for endorsements and coalition building
  • Are there examples of successful Carbon Fee and Dividend programs?
    • Yes. British Columbia has had a revenue-neutral carbon tax for eight years. The party that pushed it was handily re-elected, and recent surveys show that 65% of the public is in favor of this tax. How many people are usually in favor of a tax? Trudeau announced last year that Canada would go revenue neutral nationwide in 2018.
  • Can you tell us about the successes and challenges of the Climate Solutions Caucus.
    • CCL’s Climate Solutions Caucus is a House of Representatives bipartisan assembly consisting of paired Democrat/Republican Representatives to work together to understand the climate change issue. They now have 56 members (28 pairs) in the caucus, which gives them a voting bloc on legislation. With this coalition, they were recently able to block bad climate legislation that was tagged onto a military spending bill.

      The next step is to get 75% of Congress [75% of 435 members of Congress = 163 pairs] in the Caucus to enable a veto-proof majority to prevent our president from signing bad legislation.

      One challenge is finding Republicans who are not afraid to step outside the fold and take a stand for the environment.
  • What can we do to make a difference?
    • Many suggestions were made about ways to volunteer, from the small to the large. It starts with signing up.
    • Grassroots outreach. CCL has 80K members. There are ~220K RPCVs. We should promote group and individual support of the program.
    • Homework: Find something we admire/respect/appreciate about our member of Congress who may be a climate denier. Be prepared to approach them with a positive interaction, not a complaint.

Other Business

Website Update: Kate Schachter, Mel Siegel

Kate received word on Tuesday from Ella Dowell (NPCA Web Administrator) that Silkstart has reset our template. She has begun work and hopes to have it ready to launch in a week or so (Version One), but many of the original problems with the template are back and will need Ella’s coding to fix. Lila is a web administrator for NorCal and can assist.

Mel will soon set the pointers for and to the website from BlueHost. He has the info he needs from Ella to map these to our Silkstart URL, as soon as he gets the password problem resolved.

WorldView Fall issue

The fall issue of the National Peace Corps Association's quarterly magazine, WorldView, is on the Environment. It is at the printer now, and complimentary copies are being mailed to those of our group who submitted articles. Everyone else, watch your mailbox for your personal copy. If you are a free NPCA member, you won't get a copy. To upgrade to a small annual membership fee that will give you quarterly WorldView issues, among other things, upgrade your NPCA membership.

Business cards

An outcome of Peace Corps Connect Denver is that we now have a business card template for the group. They are on our Google Drive, but ask Kate ( for a copy of the editable Word document if you need business cards.


Our Round Robin of positive environmental action(s) in the last month or so.

An Israeli company has introduced a battery cell that can charge electric vehicles faster than any other technology.

China has made a serious commitment to all-electric vehicles. In fact, all new 2- or 3-wheel vehicles are now required to be electric; fuel-run transport is grandfathered in for now.


Next meeting via Zoom - Thursday, October 12, 8pm EDT
Watch for agenda and details.

Become a (free) member by first joining NPCA
then RPCVs for Environmental Action
 - all free
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