Truckee residents lobby Congress on climate change | SierraSun.com

Truckee residents lobby Congress on climate change

Several local residents made the trip to Washington, D.C., earlier in the month to take part in the ninth annual Citizens Climate International Conference and Lobby Day.

Seven members of the Truckee community traveled across the country for the trip, where they took part in workshops ranging from social media use to techniques on presenting climate issues to their local communities.

"The average person who wants to participate can find a very meaningful way to participate through citizens climate lobby," said Janet Atkinson. "There's hardly anything more meaningful than finding climate solutions, going to Capital Hill and having meetings with senators their staff. The fact that Citizens' Climate Lobby arranged at least 500 meetings on Capital Hill with members of Congress is astounding."

Atkinson said she was able to meet with members of congress, joined in several breakout sessions, including one on lessons from the ski industry.

"I think the only way that we are going to get somewhere with cutting down the temperatures and global warming, is to price carbon," she said. "The best place to do that is at our nation's capital. I just had to go."

For Matt Tucker and his wife Liz, the lobby day not only gave them a chance to have their voices heard, but provided a valuable lesson in democracy for their children Sadie, 14 and Joachim, 12.

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"I feel like it was a good experience not just for me but for my whole family. For most people that live on the West Coast, Congress is kind of an abstract concept and most of what you hear about it isn't good," said Tucker.

"I think there's a lot of pessimism about democracy in this country. It's important for me to show my kids that we have to take a more active role in being in Congress's face."

Tucker said the seven members of North Tahoe Citizens' Climate Lobby met with a member of Republican Rep. Tom McClintock's staff, during the trip, but few commonalities could be found in regard to climate change.

"He was intensely conservative," said Tucker. "To me it's like hey, if you care about climate change, your best bet is not to vote for McClintock."

As a whole, Tucker said Citizens' Climate Lobby's goals for the conference were to encourage Congress members to join the Climate Solutions Caucuses, which pairs members of Congress from across the aisle together in an effort to eventually put forth a bipartisan carbon fee.

Deidre Henderson led the group's trip to Washington and was the only member not making an appearance at the conference and lobby day.

"We're running out of time to avoid the worst consequences of climate change," Henderson said in a statement. "Here in the Sierra, we are on the frontline of climate change. Droughts are getting longer causing our forests to be more susceptible to diseases and wildfires. Warmer winters are decreasing annual snow pack, impacting our outdoor recreation industry and local economy. That's why we're going to Washington. The best first step we can take to avoid the worse impacts of climate change is to get congress to put a price on carbon and return the revenue to households, using the market to move us to a low-carbon future."

Roughly 1,100 members of Citizens' Climate Lobby showed up for the three-day summit to meet with members of congress and their staff, hear from climate experts, and continue moving toward the nonprofit's goal of passing its Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.

The Carbon Fee and Dividend is Citizens' Climate Lobby's preferred climate solution, according to its website, and would impose a carbon fee on all fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases at the point where they first enter the economy.

By imposing a carbon fee and returning the revenue to households as a dividend, the lobby says fossil fuels will become less desirable and cleaner sources will become more competitive.

The fees would be collected by the Treasury Department, and would be placed in the Carbon Fees Trust Fund and rebated to households in equal monthly dividend payments.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.