Last week, we hosted our August Coffee & Climate, highlighting Citizens’ Climate Lobby and MIT’s en-ROADS climate simulation model. This week, we are taking a closer look at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, its climate policy goals and its presence in Maine.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a global grassroots organization with over 500 chapters all over the world. The group is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization advocating for ambitious climate policy across parties and finding common ground on climate action. In Maine, the organization has 11 chapters across the state, including a chapter in Portland.

A core component of the organization’s mission is passing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 2307), which will help reduce America’s carbon pollution to net zero by 2050. The city councils in Portland and South Portland have both passed resolutions in support of this effort. Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters advocate for this act by training and supporting volunteers to engage elected officials, the media, and the public.

Is a carbon fee the solution?

Citizens’ Climate Lobby advocates for an economy-wide carbon tax and dividend. Under this model, a fee is applied wherever fossil fuels enter the economy. The fee is based on the metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) fossil fuel will generate and would be assessed at the earliest point of sale into the economy. This could be the well, mine or port the fuel is extracted from. Due to this, businesses and people alike will be incentivized to switch to clean energy.

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Considering the harmful effects of fossil fuels in relation to climate change, putting a price on carbon could significantly reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions and the general use of fossil fuels. As a result of the fee, we would achieve net zero emissions by electrifying our building, transportation and industrial sectors and introducing climate-friendly technology. According to the organization, studies have shown that a steadily rising price, starting at $15/ton and rising by $10/ton per year, would cut fossil fuel pollution by 30 percent in the first five years alone.

Get involved

Are you interested in learning more about Citizens’ Climate Lobby? Want to get involved? Volunteers of the group meet with Congressional leaders, write letters to the editor and op-eds, meet with local media and educate their community about global warming and legislative solutions.

The Portland chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby meets the first Saturday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Coffee by Design on 1 Diamond St., Portland. Contact them at [email protected]

You can also join at citizensclimatelobby.org which will connect you to your local chapter and provide you with information about the training and resources you need to get started.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps fellow serving in the Sustainability Office. She can be reached at [email protected]

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