Scientists warned us in the latest International Panel on Climate Change report that, in order to avert climate catastrophe, we must cut greenhouse gas emissions by half in the next 12 years. Taking that warning to heart, two members of the Santa Clarita Chapter of Citizens’ Climate lobby have traveled to Washington, D.C., this month to join more than 1,000 other volunteers pressing Congress to enact legislation that would place a fee on carbon emissions and give the revenue collected to households.
One of the volunteers, Jacob Morales, is particularly motivated to meet with his member of Congress. As an environmental studies major at College of the Canyons, his goal is to build a career around environmental advocacy and become a political advisor. He says he believes “there is still hope in the world and in the United States to move past partisanship and really find viable solutions not only for our nation, but for the world and its ecology.”
Another volunteer, Martin Ponce, a student at Moorpark College, says of his choice to lobby in Washington: “Not being familiar with the climate literature, it was easy for me to dismiss climate change; however, after reading more, it became clear that activism on the individual level was essential.” He says he expects climate activism will follow him to the four-year universities he plans to attend, think tank internships, law schools and whichever constitutional law firm he “pitches his tent” in. In the meantime, he plans to start a Moorpark College chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
One way forward for both of these student volunteers is continuing to work with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which is a national, nonpartisan advocacy organization working to bring Republicans and Democrats together on market-based solutions for climate change. The group has been the primary catalyst for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763), a bipartisan bill that now has more than three dozen cosponsors.
H.R. 763 would put a fee on all oil, gas and coal we use in the United States. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies and Americans will choose cleaner, cheaper energy options. The money from the fee will be returned directly to the American people as a monthly rebate, and most households will end up with more money in their dividend check than they spend on rising energy costs.
Martin and Jacob will be asking Reps. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to step up and co-sponsor the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act as the best first step in reducing the carbon emissions behind increasing climate-related disasters such as flooding, drought, wildfires and species extinction.