September 2016 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: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/laser-talks/carbon-prices-around-world/.
  • 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 (mailto:prolnick@truman.edu or 660-342-2671). There is good information on the CCL-Community website on gathering endorsements: https://community.citizensclimatelobby.org/endorser-program/. 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 https://lowcarboncrossings.wordpress.com/cross-country-ride-2016/.
    • 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 http://citizensclimatelobby.org/congressional-education-day/, or contact me (mailto:prolnick@truman.edu 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 (mailto:eric.d.johnson@gmail.com).

NEXT MEETING:

Wednesday, October 19, 7-8:30 pm

Iowa City Public Library, room E


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