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Beacon Senior News

Citizens combat climate change with legislation

Apr 04, 2018 06:20AM ● By Jan Weeks

Montrose Citizens’ Climate Lobby members hold Earth Day posters at the Montrose Science Rally in 2017.

2017 was a dry year for the Western Slope, with the fall months showing only a trace of precipitation, ski areas opening late and skiers praying for snow. The first two months of 2018 were no better.

Though many people deny our climate is changing, others declare that weather patterns have definitely shifted. Whether you agree with scientists or not, the Grand Junction and Montrose chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) would like you to think about what’s going on with our weather.

Influence from all

CCL is an international organization with over 450 active chapters nationwide that seeks to combat climate change through specific legislation that would reduce greenhouse gases by charging fossil fuel producers a fee of $10 per ton of carbon dioxide produced. The monies collected would then be returned to each household in the country.

Grand Junction Citizens’ Climate Change Lobby trip to the U.S. capitol.

“‘Household’ means one or two adults, and each adult would be allocated one share,” said Dave Reed, 58, who heads up the Grand Junction Chapter with fellow member, Ken Scissors. “Each child would receive half a share, up to three shares per household. It’s a perfect case of thinking globally and acting locally.”

They emphasized that the legislation doesn’t raise the cost to the government.

“The only role government would play is to administrate the collection and distribution of funds and will have no discretion to change the law,” Scissors, 64, said.

CCL wants to show that citizens can influence both the laws and the environment. The Montrose chapter has collected letters from community members about environmental concerns and presented them to local legislators.

“We spread information and education on environment issues and influence legislators to pay attention to these issues,” said Montrose Chapter Secretary Janet Chapman, 71.

CCL seeks bipartisan support in respect for our common grounds and to involve supporters across the entire political spectrum without casting blame or making moral judgments.

“We all drive cars and heat our homes,” Reed said.

What’s in it for me?

Reed cited a more stable climate, meaning no droughts and no forest fires crippling Forest Service budgets or causing harm to individuals and their property. Scissors, a doctor, is concerned with the effect the changing climate has on citizen health. He said Canada is already using a fee-based carbon reduction program and doing the same in the U.S. will bring our nation into alignment with the Paris Accord, a climate agreement between most of the world’s countries that aims to strengthen the global response to the threats of climate change by limiting the rise of global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Scissors and Reed said that making changes in our everyday lives, such as recycling, carpooling and reducing multiple car trips, isn’t enough.

“We need policy change,” Reed said. “People change behavior when money is the motivator. This legislation would also modify boom and bust cycles in the energy fields and reduce our dependence on OPEC oil.”

Unfortunately, Scissors and Reed said it would take a minimum of 10 years to reverse the effects that greenhouse gases have already had on the climate.

“We’re glad that people are becoming more aware and involved in taking up personal responsibility, but things aren’t going to change unless we change the laws,” Chapman echoed.

To find out more about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, visit www.citizensclimatelobby.org.

The Montrose chapter meets monthly in the Montrose library meeting room. For details, call Janet Chapman at 240-9146, email [email protected], or find them on Facebook: Citizens’ Climate Lobby - Montrose, CO.

To contact the Grand Junction chapter, email [email protected] or call 366-8766.

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