Op-Ed

Citizens’ Climate Lobby offers tool to endorse Carbon Dividend Act

MIAMI BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: A bus plows through a flooded street that was caused by the combination of the lunar orbit which caused seasonal high tides and what many believe is the rising sea levels due to climate change on September 29, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. The City of Miami Beach is in the middle of a five-year, $400 million storm water pump program and other projects that city officials hope will keep the ocean waters from inundating the city as the oceans rise even more in the future. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: A bus plows through a flooded street that was caused by the combination of the lunar orbit which caused seasonal high tides and what many believe is the rising sea levels due to climate change on September 29, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. The City of Miami Beach is in the middle of a five-year, $400 million storm water pump program and other projects that city officials hope will keep the ocean waters from inundating the city as the oceans rise even more in the future. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Getty Images

Most of us want to do something about climate change, but we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem.

We understand that turning up the air-conditioning, eating less meat or even installing solar panels won’t solve the warming of the planet. Besides, who wants to reduce consumption when your neighbors are driving gas-guzzling vehicles?

Many of us have voted and joined climate-activist groups. I recently read that environmental and social justice groups collectively make up the largest movement on earth.

But we all know there’s great skepticism about the warming of the planet and whether human activity is causing most of the damage.

However, now that the seas are flooding cities’ streets, there’s less doubt. And there’s some action.

The World Trade Organization, governments and economic planners are working to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions in more than 50 countries and territories.

Here at Ground Zero, Citizens’ Climate Lobby provides an easy way to help push this climate pea up the political hill. We have been lobbying for a refundable fee on carbon emissions and greenhouse gases for a decade.

There has just been a bill introduced in Congress that reflects our efforts. The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), H.R. 763, was introduced in the U.S. House on Jan. 22.

It places a steadily rising fee on carbon emissions and returns all proceeds to American households. All fossil fuel producers would have to pay a fee at the point of extraction or import, which is added to the price of fuel. This is the key that unlocks solutions.

It spurs investment and development of the more competitive renewables. Market competition would decide winners and losers.

The dividend, which many consider the most important part of the bill, returns all proceeds to American households in monthly disbursements.

The dividend helps grow the economy while protecting households having to pay more for energy. The bill even calls for the first dividend to be disbursed the month prior to the fee being imposed. There is also a border price adjustment to insure fair international trade.

For this bill to move to a vote will take time, but it’s not impossible. For years we were told a bipartisan climate bill was impossible, yet here it is.

Just having the bill on the floor in Congress opens the conversation in a new forum and enables all interests to state their cases and gauge the public response.

To support passage of the bill, the CCL is organizing proponents in every electoral district, seeking media exposure and alerting potential supporters through social networking.

Endorsements from business leaders and civic organizations are the best way to help the bill. A citizen can go online and register his or her endorsement for the EICDA, the U.S. House bill, (763). Just click here.

Above all, we all should talk about climate disruption as you would the weather. Write or call your representatives in Congress, and especially thank Rep. Ted Deutch (D) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R) for introducing this bill.

Jeff Dorian is the Group Leader of the Broward Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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