September Meeting Notes

Iowa City Climate Advocates/Iowa City Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Meeting

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Meeting Notes (prepared by Peter Rolnick)

People present: Eric Johnson, Jaimie McCoy, Jenna Hammerich, Terri Macey, Peter Rolnick, Linda Quinn, Brian Parkinson, Barbara Eckstein, Jim Throgmorton

  • We introduced ourselves and talked about what kind of things, related to our work on climate change, we liked to do and didn’t like to do. Interesting discussion followed, including: An explanation from Brian, who farms in Illinois, as to why no-till farming is better for the environment (and for the farmer!) than traditional plowing.
  • Eric gave a “laser talk” about what other countries in the world are doing to address climate change. The upshot is that about 50% of the world is already either pricing carbon in some way or has definite plans to do so. Furthermore, of the most developed economies only the United States is not pricing carbon. (I asked about Russia, which is also not pricing carbon, and it turns out that, if you include the state of California as one of the world’s top developed economies, it “bumps” Russia out of that category!) More information can be found about this on the CCL-Community website here:
  • It was pointed out that at one time Senator Grassley, in his consistently thoughtful responses to people’s letters, used to say that the US could not enact a carbon fee because China wasn’t doing anything. Now, to a number of us, he has said the problem is that, the REMI study notwithstanding, he is convinced that a revenue-neutral carbon fee would hurt the poorest Americans and was thus unacceptable. In response to the argument that the US couldn’t take action on pricing carbon until some portion of the rest of the world had, Barbara pointed out that that “following others” was not our only choice as a country; we could also choose to be a leader.
  • We wrote letters to our representatives throughout the meeting, one to Brian’s representative in Illinois, one to Senator Ernst and four to Congressman Loebsack.
  • We talked about fundraising. I agreed to look into a music/food fundraising event at Uptown Bill’s. This would be to raise money for our printing, MeetUp, and incidental expenses, plus money to help people travel to DC in June and November to lobby Congress.
  • We talked about what are the most effective things we can do to contribute to the effort to get a a revenue-neutral carbon fee passed by Congress before the end of 2017. Gathering endorsements and tabling were suggested. Some people talked of frustrating experiences they had had tabling–no one stopping to talk. It would be good if we had an endorsements person who spearheaded endorsement efforts, and then individuals could focus on small tasks as guided by that person. Anyone interested in taking on that role should contact me ( or 660-342-2671). There is good information on the CCL-Community website on gathering endorsements: Regarding endorsements and related efforts, Jim suggested, as allies, Mayor Frank Cownie from Des Moines, John Fraser from Iowa City (a retired businessman, perhaps?) working with the Iowa United Nations Association and wanting to connect with business, and Jean Lloyd Jones, the leader (?) of the local Iowa United Nations Association. Jim will send their contact info to me and I will see if one or more of them would be interested in presenting at one of our meetings.
  • As part of an effort to understand the steps needed to get carbon fee & dividend to actually become a bill, Barbara will research the role of the Congressional Budget Office in that process. Eric will give her information about whom to contact in Loebsack’s DC office.
  • Upcoming Events:
    • Mindy Ahler (one of our Regional Leaders) and Ryan Hall are riding their bikes across the country to raise awareness of climate change. They are currently in Montana. On October 1st they will be in Bismark, North Dakota, and they will be in Washington DC on November 14th, so in October or November they will be riding through Iowa. They will go through Greenfield, Indianola, Des Moines, Pella, Fairfield and Muscatine. Anyone able to meet them and show support would be welcome! You can find out more info regarding exactly where they’ll be when, as they get closer, at
    • ICCA is hosting a showing of the movie Dear President Obama, narrated by Mark Ruffalo. The movie (2 hours and 11 minutes) is a critique of Obama’s “all of the above” approach to energy policy. The showing will be Tuesday October 4th, 6:30 pm, at the Iowa City Public Library, Room A.
    • Volunteers are still needed to lobby Congress in Washington, DC on Congressional Education Days, November 14, 15, 2016. Arrangements have been made to meet with Representative Loebsack (not a staffer), but so far there are no CCL-ers from Iowa that I know of going. Experience not required! If you are interested see, or contact me ( or 660-342-2671).
    • There will be a Regional Citizens’ Climate Lobby Meeting in Okiboji, IA on March 16th & 17th. This will be a great opportunity to learn about Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and to meet fellow climate activists from other parts of our state and from neigboring states. Details are forthcoming, but it is in a beautiful place with beautiful accomodations. CCL executive director Mark Reynolds will be there. I will be driving there and will be glad to take along passengers.
    • ICCA will be hosting a 5k Run/Walk on Earth Day (April 22, 2017) to raise money for victims of climate change and to honor the memory of Barbara Schlacter, one of the founders of ICCA. The route will be from City Park to Terry Trueblood park. For more information or to volunteer to help out, contact Eric (


Wednesday, October 19, 7-8:30 pm

Iowa City Public Library, room E

‘Gotta Save ‘Em All’ From Climate Change

Op Ed by Steve Valk in the Press-Citizen, August 18, 2016

“Gotta run. There’s a rumble down the street,” my eldest son, Cameron, says. He bolts out the door, cell phone in hand.

I flash back to his high school performance in “West Side Story.” But Cameron isn’t rushing to connect with the Sharks or Jets — he’s heading out to confront trainers wielding Golbat and Pidgeot.

Welcome to the world of Pokemon Go, the mobile app based on the cards, TV show and video games that dominated kid culture back when millennials were growing up in the 1990s. Unless you’ve been stranded on Mars, you can’t help noticing the phenomenon that has swept the world in a matter of weeks, as players wander streets and parks chasing down the coveted characters.

The king of all Pokemon, of course, is the iconic Pikachu: a yellow, pointy-eared creature with the power to cause taser-like paralysis using “static” (I’m guessing he’s especially dangerous in carpeted rooms). Pikachu was the main character in the anime TV show and has been the face of the Pokemon franchise ever since.

What many don’t realize, though, is that a real-life Pikachu — sans static power — can be found out West. Called the American pika, this small, rabbit-like animal has a bark that sounds like the squeak from a doggy chew toy. After viewing a short video, I declared it the cutest mammal on the planet.

But the most lovable rodent since Mickey Mouse now faces a foe more formidable than Charizard: climate change.

You see, the pika lives in high-elevation, mountainous habitats, where it relies upon a fairly heavy coat of fur to protect against the cold. That coat, however, makes it susceptible to overheating in summer months. Pika can die if their body temperature increases by as little as 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit; exposure to six hours of temperatures that we’d consider fairly comfortable — 77 degrees — can be lethal. What’s more, climate change is disrupting the growth cycles of local vegetation, which limits the amount of food the pika can store for the winter.

If climate change is left unchecked, rising temperatures will make the pika’s home uninhabitable by this uniquely American species. And the pika has lots of company — a study published in the journal Science last year predicts that one in six species could be wiped out if current climate trends continue. In 2014, the National Audubon Society released a shocking study that revealed nearly half the bird species in North America face extinction by 2080, primarily because of climate change.

So how do we keep Earth’s thermostat from going haywire and help our animal friends stay alive?

First, we must reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases — mainly carbon dioxide and methane — that are trapping heat in our atmosphere. To do this, we can enlist the power of the marketplace to reduce those emissions by placing a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels. A study from Regional Economic Models, Inc. shows that a fee on carbon increasing $10 per ton each year will reduce CO2 emissions by 52 percent within 20 years.

Amazingly, we can do all this while actively improving the American economy. Returning all net revenue from the carbon fee to households in equal shares — a policy known as Carbon Fee and Dividend — would put more spending money in American pockets, adding some 2.8 million jobs. It’s a win for workers and the environment alike.

In a moment akin to Babe Ruth calling his shot at the 1932 World Series, Citizens’ Climate Lobby has declared that Congress will pass a revenue-neutral carbon fee bill by the end of 2017. As many in the GOP rediscover the conservationist ethic of Theodore Roosevelt, the prospects for such legislation grow better and better.

The slogan for Pokemon, as millions of enthusiasts know, is “Gotta catch ’em all.” Those who are working to check the ravages of climate change and protect species like the American Pika might adopt a similar slogan: “Gotta save ’em all.”

Steve Valk is communications director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Carbon Fee an Essential First Step on Climate

Op Ed by Peter Rolnick in the Press-Citizen August 17, 2016

Up until this year I’d never lobbied Congress, but in June I joined a thousand other volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby and met with members of Congress from Iowa to promote Carbon Fee and Dividend, a plan for a revenue-neutral fee on carbon.

Why spend time, energy and money to go to Washington and meet with my representatives? Of all the challenges we face as a country, global warming due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels is the most pressing. If we don’t address it in the next few years the world my grandchildren will face as they grow up will be unrecognizable: major coastal cities flooded, extreme droughts and floods. The resulting violence and massive immigration worldwide will make the current crisis in Syria look small. If we wait 20 years it will be too late — changes will have been set in motion that cannot be undone.

I am not saying that other problems we face are not deserving of our immediate and focused attention. I am just saying that the problem of global warming must be addressed immediately, even as we address those other problems.

Is it really that bad? Yes — the science is crystal clear, check the peer-reviewed literature. The supporting evidence is compelling. Locally: In the past few decades, Iowa has experienced multiple “500-year floods,” or floods that are expected to occur only every 500 years. Globally, the crisis in Syria and the resulting immigration overwhelming nations worldwide was precipitated in no small part by four years of severe drought preceding the civil war.

How does CF&D address the problem? It makes business and consumers pay the true cost of dumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Specifically, CF&D puts a fee on all coal, oil, etc., and the fee increases every year. The fee will make gasoline, home heating, etc., more expensive to consumers. However, all the fees collected are returned to American citizens as a dividend. Models show that lower income Americans will come out ahead, whereas higher-income Americans will come out very slightly behind. The increased spending by those who benefit, along with the increased investment in sustainable energy will create a net increase in jobs and in the economy. That is the main idea, though there is more to CF&D, including a way to protect American business from competition in countries that have no carbon fee.

Why is CF&D the best solution? It does not grow government, it is not a tax, it creates jobs and it does not unfairly burden the poor. It is more effective than a hodge-podge of regulations that vary from state to state. The market solves the problem: People will not invest in or purchase products that dump carbon into the atmosphere; American ingenuity will develop better ways to produce energy without warming the planet. Because the fee increases gradually, the change will happen in a predictable way over the course of a few decades. Economists, and the free market, love predictability — it is a conservative’s dream. Indeed, Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Shultz, strongly endorses CF&D. According to a non-partisan independent modeling company, CF&D, if implemented now, will cut our carbon emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels in 20 years. Thus Citizens’ Climate Lobby has launched a focused effort to get CF&D passed by the end of 2017. I am not saying CF&D is all we need to address climate change, but it will address the immediate problems most effectively.

Think Congress is too dysfunctional? Think again. The Climate Solutions Caucus in the House, which requires equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, contains 16 members and is growing. The members of Congress and staffers I met with, mostly Republicans, were all thoughtful and open to input. In spite of our problems, we still have a government by and for the people, but we must speak up.

If what I’ve said makes sense to you, one way to speak up is to write Senators Ernst and Grassley, and Representatives King, Young, Blum and Loebsack; let them know CF&D is a win-win solution to a pressing problem, and that you support it.

Iowa City Action Plan: Creating a Regenerative City in the Heartland

by Jeff Biggers, from the Huffington Post, 8/3/16

In the face of the “rapid onset” of 1,000-year floods, as reported by Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus on the recent deluge in Maryland and West Virginia, should flood-prone river towns like Iowa City pursue incremental and piecemeal sustainability efforts or take the lead in setting out a “regenerative city“ climate action plan?

For numerous Iowa City advocates, experts and innovators, who have held public Ecopolis Forums over the past two years on regenerative city initiatives, it’s time for Iowa City to rethink, re-evaluate and re-imagine the ways it deals with energy, food, transit and biodiversity restoration—and turn its recently passed Regenerative City Proclamation into a climate action plan.

Eight years after the historic Iowa River flood swamped the city and left behind an estimated $1 billion in area damages, the city of Iowa City is investing $60 millionin raising a “gateway” transit route only one foot above the 100-year flood level, and planning to hire an outside facilitator for a newly formed Climate Change Task Force, in order to draw up recommendations for 2018 and build on its STAR sustainability rating. Iowa City earned a 40 out of 100 rating on key Climate and Energy STAR benchmarks.

An Iowa City climate action plan based on a regenerative city framework, which seeks to create a restorative relationship between cities, local habitat and natural resources, could include some of the following measures:

Bringing Climate Action to the Public Commons
From public art, such as the proposed solar tree by the 100 Grannies, to educational city showcases, such as solar panels on City Hall, pesticide-free signs posted on public commons, orchards planted on city-owned lots, or a Climate Action and Education Center in the Riverfront Park, Iowa City officials need to actively promote public events, workshops and community discussions on how climate action is “a central priority in strategic planning” and daily life, as declared in the Regenerative City Proclamation.

Urban planning must no longer be the exclusive domain of a handful of city staff and stakeholders, but a process for public participation that brings together policy makers, entrepreneurs and the civil society. Transparency is key to this component; for example, while the city of Iowa City solicited a power purchase agreement proposal for a solar energy installation on City Hall nearly two years ago, which included a zero down and zero incremental cost option over 30 years, the proposal was never discussed in public forums.

Climate Action Partnerships
A true Iowa City climate action plan must be developed with the University of Iowa, the Iowa City Community School District, the adjoining city of Coralville, and Johnson County.

Incubating Green Jobs and Green Business
As the home of the University of Iowa, Iowa City should establish green enterprise zones, provide support and assistance for green job clusters and start-ups, and set benchmarks to significantly expand the number of green jobs in the areas of energy efficiency, green building design and construction, local food and farming, technology and design.

Big Grove: Soil Carbon Sequestration Campaign
While Adelaide, Australia planted 3 million trees as part of its regenerative city initiative, Iowa City should work with its area partners to plant 400,000 trees over the next 4 years, led by the expertise of nationally acclaimed Iowa City farmer and permaculture expert Grant Schultz and Versaland, which recently released this video production on planting 10,000 trees:

Establish Riverfront Crossings District as an EcoDistrict
As a follow up to a recent ordinance mandating inclusionary zoning in the Riverfront Crossings District, which was devastated during 2008 flood, Iowa City should pass a similar series of ordinances for walkability measures, public transit and biking, and requirements for all new buildings to be carbon neutral or include geothermal and photovoltaic solar panels; built-in recycling and composting; integrated edible landscaping; and water infiltration features surrounded by food-bearing plants.

The proposed Riverfront Park, in a city with abundant opportunities for grass and shade trees, should be developed as a showcase for local food, biodiversity and river restoration education.

Net Zero Energy Buildings, Energy Efficiency and Solar Mandates
While Iowa City, like much of Iowa, receives 31% of its electricity from wind energy production, Iowa City should take the lead in promoting Net Zero Energy Building development, and adopt two goals: a requirement for 25 percent of municipal energy use and new building permits to be provided by on-site renewable energy (solar, geothermal) within 2020; and a 2030 Challenge requirement for all new buildings and existing innovation projects to be designed and built to meet energy efficiency standards of 70 percent below the regional average EUI for that building type.

Local Food: 40% by 2020 
Given that Iowa City’s community gardens can be counted on one hand, compared to Chicago’s 800-plus urban farms, and roughly 90% of all food is imported, Iowa City must revamp antiquated zoning policies for urban farming, support the development of a food hub, provide financial assistance for local food business and community garden expenses, and require public and private institutions that receive funding from the City of Iowa City to purchase at a minimum of 40% of their food from local sources.

Similarly, a New Iowans Food and Farm Project could provide city-owned lots and assistance to the growing immigrant community with extensive agricultural backgrounds, such the as Sudanese community, who are actively looking to expand local food markets.

Zero Waste Ordinance 
Building on Iowa City’s excellent reycling and reuse endeavors, including forthcoming changes in mandatory apartment recycling, Iowa City should pass a Zero Waste Ordinance with the goal of generating new materials and compost from 85 percent of its waste by 2025.

Wheels and Walking: Transit
Iowa City is currently pursuing a goal to achieve a gold-level designation from the League of American Bicyclists. While 20% of commuters in the university town walk or bike, less than 10% opt for mass transit. Iowa City should continue to set walkability and bike-ability benchmarks, like Copenhagen, where 50% of all commute trips are made by bicycle, and bicycles outnumber residents, 560,000 bicycles to 520,000 inhabitants.

As the White House noted this spring, “climate change poses a serious danger to public health — worse than polio in some respects — and will strike especially hard at pregnant women, children, low-income people and communities of color.”

It’s time for cities, like Iowa City, to no longer delay on climate action. It’s time for Iowa City to put its resources behind local innovators, overhaul old ordinances, and turn its Regenerative City Proclamation into an action plan.

Climate change goals can be reached with hard work

From the July 13 Iowa City Press-Citizen:


Forgive me if I’m feeling a little exposed at the moment, but I recently made a really big promise. This isn’t a “tell your daughter you’ll take her to the zoo on Saturday” kind of promise. No, we’re talking about a JFK, “We’re going to put a man on the moon” kind of promise.

On June 19, at the start of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Citizens’ Climate Education Conference in Washington, I stood before hundreds of CCL group leaders and congressional liaisons — the heart and soul of our organization — and I promised them this:

By the end of 2017, Congress will pass a bill that places a fee on carbon and returns net revenue to American households.

Perhaps you understand why I feel exposed. There are so many moving parts and variables involved that are totally outside my ability to control. So what gives me the audacity to say we can do this?

Well, when I made the promise, the answer was right there in the faces of the people I was talking to. I would never entertain such an outlandish thought, let alone say it out loud, if it were not for our amazing volunteers.

Volunteers like Pennsylvania’s Jay Butera, who saw the potential of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to combat the growing threat of rising sea levels. Two years ago, armed with nothing but his own determination, he flew down to south Florida — a region highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change — and recruited the volunteers who would form CCL’s Miami chapter. He painstakingly secured endorsements from mayors, city councils and chambers of commerce, convincing local Republican members of Congress that it was time to commit to action. His efforts eventually led to Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Ted Deutch uniting to launch the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, which now has 16 members with equal numbers from both sides of the aisle.

Still, my heart was in my throat when I asked, “Who’s with me? Stand up if you’re with me.” When everyone stood up, my knees stopped shaking. I knew that they believe, just as I do, that this is no time to hedge our bets.

They know that bills that get introduced in Congress are a dime a dozen — that the only ones that count are the ones that pass. And they know that we’re running out of time. We’re getting dangerously close to the tipping point of no return on greenhouse gas emissions, the point where temperatures and seas will rise beyond our ability to adapt. It’s time for Congress to pass the most efficient and effective solution to climate change — a steadily rising, revenue-neutral fee on carbon. We can’t wait another five years until the “right” people get elected. To paraphrase former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: You don’t save the world with the Congress you wish you had; you save the world with the Congress you have.

And that is what we intend to do. By the end of 2017.

I’m confident that making this bold commitment will energize our thousands of volunteers, who have dug so deep time and time again, to find another gear within themselves and do what many consider to be impossible.

With this promise, we tap into and unleash a force that only manifests itself when a powerful commitment is made. Many years ago, W.H. Murray described that power in his book, “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. … (T)here is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

Yes, we’re all feeling a little exposed.  But sticking our necks out so we can preserve a healthy climate for our grandchildren?

That’s a risk we’re more than willing to take.

Mark Reynolds is the executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Consider carbon fee and dividend system

In early June, the House of Representatives considered a resolution stating a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy.

The main concerns were that it would raise energy costs, hurt America’s global competitiveness and disproportionately harm low-income families and the elderly. I share these valid concerns. They are all resolved, however, by a program of fee and dividend for CO2 emissions. This system would require a fee for all fossil fuels extracted from the ground or imported based on their CO2 emissions and return this revenue to American families evenly as a dividend.

There would be no revenue pulled out of the economy into government coffers. Households below median income would have their increased energy costs offset by the dividend, and there would be a progressive incentive to wean off fossil fuels. A border adjustment would be placed on imported and exported goods to eliminate any competitive disadvantage for products paying their true carbon cost. It would allow the free enterprise system to efficiently guide us to a low carbon future. A detailed discussion of this idea can be found at

Please contact your representatives and encourage them to consider a carbon fee and dividend system.

James McCoy

Iowa City

Climate Change is a Security Risk

by Eric Johnson (from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 21, 2016)

In 2014, the Pentagon cited climate change as an “immediate” threat to the United States’ safety because of the strain it will put on our military, both in responding to climate change-caused disasters in our own country and dealing with political unrest in nations that fall apart under the stress of climate change. Last July, the Department of Defense delivered a similar report to Congress, concluding that the “Defense Department already is observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, the Arctic, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America.”

These projections may sound a bit abstract, so let’s look at the damage that climate change is causing right now and see what it might look like when the full weight of this problem hits our country.

It may be hard for us to imagine here in the breadbasket of the world, but many populated areas are very dry. Growing food in these regions has no margin for error, and even relatively small fluctuations in rainfall can cause food scarcity and trigger mass migrations of people. Beginning in 2006, Syria experienced a long drought that resulted in many rural residents losing their livelihoods. This helped to spark the bloody civil war that’s been raging for five years now. Other fallout from this drought includes the rise of ISIS (it’s true—check and the immigrant crisis in Europe. According to the UN, 4.8 million Syrians have been displaced from their home country. As the weather becomes more erratic and imperils other countries’ food supplies and economies, we will see many more ISIS-like groups and millions of people flooding into neighboring countries as refugees.

The United States could easily experience an immigration crisis similar to what Europe is facing now. Mexico has less farmable land per capita than Syria. A severe drought in Mexico could lead to a mass migration of Mexicans seeking refuge in the US. Twenty-eight percent of Syrians have so far sought refuge in neighboring countries. If a similar proportion of Mexicans sought refuge in the US, we would be looking at 26 million Mexican refugees. That’s more than double the number of illegal Mexican immigrants currently living in our country.

Further, as climate change limits our own country’s resources and causes us to ration water and food, we will likely experience a surge of riots and violent crime. Scarcity scares people. This is especially dangerous in a country where many people have access to guns.

These are the kinds of scenarios the Pentagon is worried about. Climate change guarantees that things like this are going to happen. The only way to stop climate change is with action at the federal level. Proposed legislation currently exists to solve climate change, and it even creates millions of jobs. The plan is called Carbon Fee and Dividend, and it involves placing a fee on carbon, then taking the proceeds of that fee and distributing it equally to all American households. This protects the vast majority of Americans from increased energy costs, while at the same time creates an incentive to use less carbon-intensive energy and products.

However, no legislation that addresses the climate change threat will make it through Congress unless it’s supported by Republicans, as they control both houses. A group of Republicans in the House has started down the climate solution path, but there is currently no Republican leadership on this issue in the Senate. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a clear-sighted Republican to stand up and rescue us from the cliff we’re teetering on. This leader will go down in history as having saved the U.S. from these immigration and military catastrophes.

I nominate Senator Joni Ernst. Her military experience gives her unique insight into this looming threat. She wasn’t afraid to be the first female veteran in the Senate, so she shouldn’t be afraid to be the first to take on this historic challenge. Call Senator Ernst and tell her to support Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation.

A Quiz for You

So, here’s a quiz question. Who wrote the following, when was it written, and to what was the writer referring?

“We now stand where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one ‘less traveled by’ – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures preservation of our earth.”

Carbon Fee & Dividend is the Best Way to Deal with Low Gas Prices

The current glut of oil on the world market and the resulting low gas prices are hampering efforts to follow up on the Paris Climate Agreement. Specifically, sales of SUVs have gone up, sales of hybrid and plug-in vehicles have gone down. It amazes me that long-term decisions like which car to buy are so strongly influenced by short-term fluctuations in the current price of gas. According to the Carbon Tax Center, “increased gas consumption in 2015 produced carbon emissions equivalent to a year’s worth of emissions from nine coal-fired power plants.”

Though the US is has fuel economy standards in place, and China is holding the price of oil artificially high, regulations are not enough.

This is a clear case for a revenue-neutral carbon fee, where a price is put on carbon, increasing yearly, with the revenues returned directly to tax-payers. Such a market-based solution will smooth out the ups and downs in the price of oil in a way that puts climate change front and center, and will do so more effectively than regulation. Furthermore, it will help the economy by providing a kind of stability in what to expect in terms of the price fossil-fuel-derived products, a win-win for Democrats and Republicans alike!

More on this can be found at

Now is the Time to Write a Letter to the Editor About the Paris Climate Talks

Have you been meaning to write a letter to the editor about some issue having to do with climate change, but get bogged down with things like where to send it, and whether you have all your facts straight? Well, here are two things to know:

1) The Paris Climate talks are now in full swing, and there will not be a better time to get the public to pay attention to what is going on, nor will there be a better time to put pressure on our representatives in Washington and in Des Moines that the time for doing nothing is over.

2) Citizens Climate Lobby has made it really easy to send a personal letter to the editor of all the newspapers in your geographical area. Go to the Citizen’s Climate Lobby website for more information. This link includes talking points to help you put your letter together.