December 2019 Meeting Notes

Iowa City Chapter of CCL / Iowa City Climate Advocates

December 2019 Meeting Notes

 

We watched the CCL national video conference with guest speaker, Dr Wu, who was involved with meetings at the Vatican with several CEOs of oil companies and other influential companies. The goal was to help the CEOs recognize they are elders of the human community, and the outcome was two signed agreements by the CEOs, one of which was about carbon pricing in a way that leads to a rapid transition to a low carbon economy. The Pope has also spoken in favor of a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and supports carbon pricing as long as it’s constructed in a way that results in real carbon reduction.

 

CCL HQ is asking to support the year-end donation drive, they are about half-way to their goal. Mark Reynolds also wants us to thank our families for supporting us in the work we do volunteering for CCL and climate change.

 

Two representatives from Verv Auto spoke about their new electric vehicle dealership based in North Liberty (it’s an offshoot of Moxie Solar) and their presentation generated many questions and interest from the attendees. An informal poll revealed about 20% of attendees use vehicles that are at least partially electric.

 

Two students from the University of Iowa attended and informed us that they are part of the founding group of students starting a CCL chapter at the UI ( yay!!!!!).

 

Marcia Mosher reported that the 100 Grannies are supporting the student climate strikers and organizing for the Climate Crisis Parade in Des Moines on Feb 1. They are trying to provide a bus to help people get to Des Moines.

 

Jamie McCoy relayed the following: 

  1. Noted the IC Council resolution which hopefully can stimulate more resolutions.  Asked if any one in Coralville, University Heights, Solon, North Liberty, Cedar Rapids, would want to share the IC resolution with their local government and pursue a resolution.

 

  1. Noted my Blog piece with Audubon which Doug Harr is  passing on to the Minnesota and upper Mississippi Valley office and Great Lakes office in hopes of broader collaboration with Audubon.

 

  1. Noted shift in tactics with ISETA focusing on collaboration: demonstrating our ability to get their legislative requests to a receptive audience.

 

  1. Recent contact with John Borman, CEO of IWEA with his suggestion to approach TPI composites in Newton and Vestas Wind in Iowa Falls as powerful and possibly receptive potential allies.  Requested anyone with contacts in those companies to contact me. 

 

Earth Day 2020 is the 50th anniversary and is only 4 months away. If someone is interested in doing something special for this Earth Day let me know ASAP. We have also been invited to table and participate in the Park and Rec’s Earth Fest which occurs around Earth Day.

 

I relayed some ideas on seeds for letters to the editor (The Perfect Gift… is an endorsement of the Energy Innovation Act, or talking about climate change over the holidays, New Year’s Resolution… resolve to take climate action this year, resolve to talk about climate change once a week).

 

October 2019 Meeting Notes

Sorry for the gap in meeting notes posted here, we’ve been having regular meetings, I’ve just forgotten to post the notes here!

October 2019 Meeting Notes

 

Attendees: Char Lange, Eric Johnson, Briana Hoffman, Elsa Janle, Peter Rolnick, Dan Livorsi, Rob Hogg, Gerry Denning, Jim Throgmorton, Haley Dansby, Del Holland, Miriam Kashia, Dawn Pawlowski, Silvia Quezada, John Macatee, Barabara Eckstein, Craig Mosher, Marcia Foster, Dianne Dillon-Ridgley

 

CCL Web Conference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03ezLLDYmOs)

  • Alexander Posner & Kiera O’Brien (Students for Carbon Dividends)
    • Does “retail messaging” which means tailoring how you talk about carbon dividends to the audience you’re speaking to
    • Lead with values, not policy details
    • Talk to Republicans about reclaiming the long legacy of environmentalism 
      • Teddy Rosevelt with the National Parks, 
      • Nixon with the EPA
      • Bush with Acid Rain
    • Climate action is inevitable at this point, you need to have a seat at the table
    • A carbon price is the most powerful tool in the toolbox, so if you care about climate justice, you should care about pricing carbon
    • Students for Carbon Dividends support the plan proposed by the Climate Leadership Council
  • CCL News
    • 49,000+ new members so far this year (that puts us above 150k members by my count)
    • 48 of 50 states have some entity endorsing the bill
    • 53 municipal resolutions (representing 14 million people)
    • 2580 letters to the editor in 2019
    • 421 op-eds in 2019
    • Another bipartisan climate change bill, the Market Choice Act
    • 3500 economists signed a letter saying a carbon price is the way to go
      • Most economists ever to agree on something/sign a letter
    • Congressional Lobby Day in November
      • Still openings
      • 575 registrants so far
    • 20% of congressional meetings involved the member of Congress using the phrase “make climate change a bridge issue, not a wedge issue”
  • Rob Hogg
    • We need to stay inclusive on climate change
    • Rob is hosting the largest faith-based climate action event
      • 9am – noon, 
    • Rob Hogg has hosted 15 presidential candidates so far to talk about climate change
    • We in Iowa have a responsibility to talk to the candidates about climate change
      • We have a unique position in the political process that we have to take advantage of
    • Talk to the Republican presidential candidates too
    • Meet with Rita Hart and the other candidates too, 
    • Miller-Meeks has Fairfield in her district so she could use climate change in her campaign to great effect
  • Peter Rolnick, State of Iowa CCL Coordinator
    • Grasstops is key statewide
      • Iowa Soybean Association has been mentioned as a great opportunity
      • Local Farm Bureau office too (Grassley listens to Farm Bureau a lot)
    • Iowa State Legislature
      • Iowa Supreme Court said the Iowa Legislature should put a price on carbon in one of their rulings
        • We could help develop a bill for regional carbon pricing in the midwest
        • Another option would be to tax energy companies above a certain size
        • Could use proceeds to fund electric car infrastructure
        • Fund “Energy Districts”
        • Or we could just ask the legislature to endorse the Energy Innovation Act
    • State CCL Meeting in Ames on Dec 7
      • Jim Bolter will speak
        • Just published large report on Iowa climate future via the Iowa Policy Project
        • ISU person will also speak on biofuels to inform us how they fit into a transition and their current effect on net GHGs
  • We went around and stated what we’re planning to work on over the next month
    • Those without an action drew an action from a brown paper bag
    • One of the new attendees drew “Making cookies for Rep Loebsack”

May 2019 Meeting Notes

May 2019 Meeting Notes

CCL Video Conference Call
On the Monthly Call we were told that we (nationally) had 386 in-district lobby meetings, 67 op-eds and 1818 outreach events, all bigger than the same time period last year. They showed a short climate video that we could put on our website. (It is located at https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2512762532091000.) Carlos Curberlo was the guest speaker.
Actions mentioned were
1) Have our group make lobby meeting plans to pass on to our lobbyists going to DC in June,
2) Have people call MoCs on June 5th (all the Grand Canyon calls for next month be on June 5th, as Mark suggested), and have people tweet our MoCs on June 11th.

Rest of the Meeting
The rest of the meeting was spent talking with Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) Chair Geri Huser, her “handler” Anna Hyatt, Representative Mary Mascher and Senator Joe Bolkcom.

We didn’t get to the “Announcements” part of the agenda.

A few notes I made:
The IUB doesn’t make policy, they just impliment it.
The general topic was how to charge electric utility customers for grid support and maintenence.

Subtopics:
For-profit versus publically-owned utilities
Customers with solar panels versus customers without solar panels
Flat-fee versus per kW-hr
An example: For the Des Moines water utility they charge a flat fee of ~ $13/residential customer, ~ $200/commercial customer

There is a pilot program in place for Alliant but I can’t remember its details. Geri says everyone on all sides hates it so they must of done it correctly!

There is already a law requiring the allowance of net metering. Perhaps the Alliant pilot program is contrary to that law?

There should be a state study of the costs to grid support of residential and commercial solar.

The demand for such a study must come from the state legislature.
Geri suggested that there needed to be philosophical changes to our current legislation having to do with electric utilities to address the many issues we brought up. She didn’t provide specifics, or if she did I didn’t understand them.

Marc Franke joined us even though he is a member of the Cedar Rapids chapter, and he was a great addition. He pointed out that residential solar actually makes it less expensive for the utilities to provide power effectively to all its customers, so it is not clear why there should be an extra “grid support” charge for customers with solar panels.

People were complaining about utilities stalling when customers installed solar. Geri pointed out that the UIB investigates complaints, so we should file a complaint when something like that happens.

Other states regulate their utilities in a variety of ways. The IUB has opportunities to learn about those other ways.

I presented a graphic (from the REMI study) to show how a revenue-neutral price on carbon would dramatically increase wind energy and decrease coal in our part of the country. This would be really good economically for Iowa. Geri or Marc mentioned that we have tremendous untapped wind potential in Iowa. John suggested that the graphic be shared with all our members. Here it is (WNC stands for West North Central Region):

March 2019 Meeting Notes

March 2019 Meeting

 

Attended by: Jim Olson, Daniel Livorsi, Eric Johnson, Peter Rolnick, Pam Michaud, Del Holland, Barbara E.,

 

During the CCL video conference welcome time where you can “unmute” and say your chapter name, Eric showed his “Keep Calm and Price Carbon” t-shirt, and the CCL speaker loved it and mentioned 2 or 3 times during her portion of the meeting! Eric shared the link to the shirt:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/ericdjohnson/works/35811409-keep-calm-and-price-carbon

 

The speaker talked about how the business community actually does want climate change addressed (even though they’ve dragged their feet in the past). And how we need to scrutinize any climate change policies or actions offered by fossil fuel companies.

 

Mark Reynolds: “Don’t neglect the power of young people” We need to get them engaged in climate action with us. He mentioned the Sunrise Movement https://www.sunrisemovement.org/

 

Here’s the recording of the CCL video conference:

https://community.citizensclimate.org/events/item/29/222

 

We played an “get-to-know-each-other” game where a few people talked about a game that they currently like and what they like about it, followed by a period of 1 minute for the rest of the group to relate to the game, or what the person said.

 

We learned about a game called “Exploding Kittens” : ) for kids and about Jenga and its cross-generational, cross-cultural apparel, and, from Jim Olson, President of the Johnson County chapter of Iowa United Nations Association, we heard about the climate change simulation game created for the United Nations Association last year, where rich countries and poor countries had to interact and see the direct consequences of their actions.

 

Barbara updated us on the CCL Conference Scholarship Idea and details about how to make the recipient of the scholarship accountable. Due to the tight timeline of the end of March for conference registration, Barbara will work with the Office of Sustainability to select a few students to receive the grant. We also received an anonymous donation of $1000 to send people to the DC conference.

 

Announcements were made at the end

 

  • Iowa Solar Bill that’s ruining solar in Iowa with a dishonest ad campaign
    • See attachment
  • Tabling subgroup was formed and 6 members volunteered
  • Tabling will happen on April 20 in Quad Cities
  • Iowa State CCL Conference is April 27 in Mason City
  • April meeting, Iowa Utilities Board Chair Huser is speaking about Iowa’s transition to renewables
  • Elli Sparks from CCL HQ will be coming to Iowa for 12 days to help us
  • Old Brick has offered very low cost office or meeting space to our group (Eric has contact info if you’re interested)
  • Presidential Candidate subgroup was formed, and 2 people are members
    • See attached
  • State Fair Volunteering
    • Des Moines CCL discussed having a presence at the State Fair this year with other local environmental groups. The idea at the moment is that the individual groups may manage the booth independently over the 9 days of the fair. Details are not finalized, but potentially we would need people from 9am – 9pm on those days.
    • Janelle in Des Moines is reaching out to determine the feasibility of this on behalf of the group, namely to figure out if they can get enough volunteers.
    • If interested, contact janelle.donahue@gmail.com.

 

February 2019 Meeting Notes

Attendees:

Jerry Denning, Charlene Lange, Del Holland, Barbara Eckstein, John Macatee, Silvia Quezada, Jim Throgmorton, Claire Muerdter, Peter Rolnick, Jamie McCoy, Eric Johnson

 

We watched the CCL national video meeting and heard Dr Natasha DeJarneett’s perspective on climate change as a public health expert. Some notable items:

  • Climate change causes lost workplace productivity due to increased allergies & asthma
  • 88% of the burden of climate change falls on children
  • Gastrointestinal illness outbreaks were 50% higher after extreme rain events
  • Mental health drugs are less effective in hot humid weather
  • Health professionals are trusted by everyone (they’re not seen as “partisan”). Nurses are the most trusted.
  • Mark Reynolds asked us to call our Congressmen (Rep Loebsack in our case) and ask him to co-sponsor the bill

 

We conducted the communication exercise in which we practiced listening. Some tips we discovered:

  • Be very careful when reflecting back what you’ve heard another person say; it’s easy to sound condescending or be irritating to the other person. It’s better to say, “I think I understand what you’re saying, but can you tell me more”, or just quote back exactly what they said and confirm that’s what they meant
  • We also acknowledged that even when we think we understand what the other person is saying, we really have only a surface-level understanding. Their perspective comes from many deep and various places and taking the time to dive deeper can help uncover where they’re coming from.

 

Our various sub-groups reported in:

  • Jamie McCoy/Endorsements
    • Discussions are ongoing with Cathy Glasson and Nordex/Acciona
  • Peter Rolnick/Iowa State CCL Coordinator
    • State Rep Mary Mascher is interested in crafting a bill. More will be discussed at the state CCL meeting on April 27
    • Btw, there’s a state CCL meeting on April 27, Mason City
  • John Macatee/Loebsack Liaison
    • We met with Rep Loebsack’s Regional Director, Dave Leshtz, on February 1
    • He hadn’t heard about the bill(!)
    • He mentioned the most important bits for him are the jobs the EICDA creates and the money it puts in pockets (from the dividend)

 

Chapter Plan for 2019

  • We briefly discussed what our chapter should focus on this year
  • Growing membership is a priority (many hands make light work)
  • Climate Action Grants from City of Iowa City
  • Pursue the University student community
  • Tabling events
  • Where do we fit into the Iowa City area ecosystem? What do we do that we can offer to other groups?
  • Phone bank our membership list to re-engage people

 

Links

 

Action Items For You

  • When talking to others keep in mind that “convincing them” is not the goal; building a relationship is the goal. Expect that you are not going to get them to agree with you in the course of the conversation.
  • We need a new op ed writer for the February/April slot with the Press-Citizen.
  • People should think about whether they want to and can attend the June CCL Conference and Lobby Day (June 9th – 11th in Washington DC).
    • Let me know if you:
      • Will go
      • Won’t go
      • Would go but don’t have the money
      • Don’t know