Here's what we're doing in Colorado to build political will for climate action.
Congratulations to Susan Atkinson, Durango CCL volunteer, on her guest opinion in The Colorado Sun! This piece represents a milestone for Colorado CCL because (to the best of our knowledge) this is the first time a CCL volunteer has been published in this important online publication.Continue reading
By Jim Hooton, CCL Colorado State Coordinator
As part of CCL’s Mountain West Regional Conference in September, Vice President of Programs Madeleine Para looked ahead as she explained CCL’s strategy for the next Congress. As we go to press, two of the three scenarios she outlined remain valid, so we publish this summary of Para’s remarks.Continue reading
By Sue Ballenski, Ft. Collins chapter
As a volunteer, you may be aware of the numerous layers of the CCL organization: national, regional, state and chapter. Normally, you would expect a structure like this to act as a bureaucracy, each with its own layer of rules. For CCL though, each layer of organization is actually an opportunity to support, encourage, and facilitate the work of volunteers. When I spoke with CCL leaders at various levels for this article, they confirmed that their focus and purpose was to “coordinate activities” with the underlying goal of helping people succeed. So with Colorado in mind, how are these layers supporting you?Continue reading
By Grant Couch, CCL National Conservative Caucus
I joined CCL in 2013 because I believe Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D) is a necessary, meaningful and politically sustainable step in solving the existential risk of climate change. Over the years I have participated in over 70 lobby meetings in Washington, D.C., and in Colorado district offices. My lobbying experiences have confirmed the profound wisdom of CCL’s approach of being respectfully non-partisan — while insisting on a bipartisan solution. Our Core Values are an inspiring North Star for any organization. Equally important is the simple statement on the homepage of our website: "Together we’re building support for a national bipartisan solution to climate change.”
During the last seven years, our country's politics have become more polarized. I have experienced this first-hand, both as an engaged citizen as well as a CCL member presenting to many diverse audiences. I am now convinced that a bipartisan requirement is more important than the actual solution. Ultimately, a solution will come, and Congress will have to act. However, even if the solution addresses the climate challenge in a meaningful way, it will not be sustainable unless there is bipartisan support because resistance within the minority party will be intense and perpetual. America’s political divide is an existential threat to our democracy, and CCL’s bipartisan focus is helping bridge that divide. I am profoundly proud of CCL’s efforts in that regard, and that pride and goal have given me extra energy and determination in advancing our work.
By Chris Hoffman
Regardless of which party controls the Senate come January 2021, bipartisan carbon pricing legislation continues to be a very viable path forward on climate. This is one of the important takeaways from a recent webinar on “The Future of Carbon Pricing” hosted by Resources for the Future (RFF).
Chaired by Mark Hafstead of RFF, the webinar featured Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund, Joseph Majkut of the Niskanen Center, and Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution.
Some other key takeaways:
By Ankita Arora
“My first successful endorsement was Rabbi Deborah Bronstein – a person I have known for years and admire immensely. But the story doesn’t end there. This past summer, she joined as a faith leader at the lobby meeting with Senator Bennett and spoke eloquently. This was a nice positive reinforcement moment,” says Yonatan Malin, co-leader of CCL’s national Jewish Action Team (JAT) and member of the CCL-Boulder chapter.
Advocating for endorsements, i.e. gaining the support of community leaders and non-governmental organizations for Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy is one of the most important tools that aim to increase grasstops engagement and thus, bring citizens into the political process.Continue reading
By Andrew Zeiler, Durango Group Co-Leader
Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is physically the largest district in the state. The district includes most of the rural Western slope, and even reaches into a small part of the eastern plains. Cities include Grand Junction, Durango, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo and Steamboat Springs. There are four active CCL chapters in the district - Aspen, Durango, Grand Junction and Montrose - plus four more “ in progress,” according to the CCL chapter directory.
When I first learned about CCL and developed an interest in joining, I learned the nearest chapter was Montrose, a 3-hour drive (close to 4 if any pass on the short route is closed). With encouragement and support from Susan Secord, then-CO state coordinator, I started a Durango chapter in early 2017. Fast forward to 2020, with the hard work of a number of locals we have sustained that chapter for three and a half years.Continue reading
By Virginia Black and Moira Hill, Longmont CCL chapter
In September, Byron Kominek, owner/manager of Jack’s Solar Garden reached out to the Longmont CCL chapter to offer a socially-distanced, “in real life” tour of their new community solar garden, a national model for how agriculture and solar can co-exist on the same land.
Located in Boulder County, the solar aspect of the farm features more than 3,200 solar panels creating 1.2MW of energy — enough to power over 300 homes. The solar panels are situated at a height of 6 or 8 feet high off the ground. The electricity produced is available to subscribers — so far the largest is In The Flow: Boutique Cannabis. Boulder County, which collaborated with the founders in visualizing and enabling community solar gardens in the county, and the City of Boulder are also significant subscribers to Jack’s Solar Garden.Continue reading
A great letter to the editor (LTE) is two hundred words worth of response, insight, and persuasion. Every day, Colorado CCL’ers step up to the challenge. In recognition of that effort, we’ll be posting one LTE from around the state every month.
This month, we highlight Joanie Post’s letter in Grand Junction's The Daily Sentinel. Joanie’s letter does a great job of integrating her family’s discussions on emissions with our solution of carbon fee and dividend. Take a look.Continue reading
By David Kline, CO CCL State Co-Coordinator
After a year-long process, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis issued its report: Solving the Climate Crisis, The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and Healthy, Resilient, and Just America. The report was written by the Democratic majority staff. So far, we have not seen a report from the Republican members of the committee. Although we were hoping for a bipartisan effort, that has not happened. While disappointing in some respects, the report does provide insights that may help us in our discussions with members of congress and key environmental groups in Colorado.Continue reading
By Susan Secord
“I love it when CCL volunteers have their first LTEs published!” This is just one of the things that Alexx Hoholik enjoys about being the new Colorado CCL Media Manager for the Denver Post (DP). Denver CCL leader Kathleen Wells recently turned that role over to Alexx after serving as CCL’s DP Media Manager for six years. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Kathleen for her years of service in that capacity! And a very big thanks to Alexx for stepping up to take over!
What’s a CCL Media Manager and why are they so important to CCL’s work?Continue reading
By Sue Ballenski
Tabling is one of CCL’s greatest tools offering opportunities for one-on-one conversations with people we might not normally reach. For many of our chapters, tabling is one of our primary means of outreach, but doing so one-on-one in times of COVID-19 can be a challenge. A challenge that the Durango chapter took on this summer when they tabled at the Durango Farmers Market.Continue reading
By Ian Harrison, State Leader, Colorado Conservative Caucus
Over the last 10 months, and from the sidelines, I have watched something truly inspirational.
The publication of an OpEd on climate leadership, co-authored by Charlie Winn, the Republican candidate for district 2, and Kelsey Grant, a CCL Conservative Fellow, is the culmination of their personal journeys and a remarkable achievement. While the article talks directly to the desire of young conservatives to have their party deliver on a national Republican-led climate strategy, the real inspiration is how they got there.Continue reading
By Jim Hooton, Colorado State Co-Coordinator
When Boulder CCL Steering Team member Jim Dimmick heard about the Environmental Voter Project (EVP) on CCL’s monthly national call in June 2018 he was intrigued. And when Colin Zeigler, EVP Coordinator for Colorado came to a Boulder CCL chapter meeting, Dimmick decided to take action. Dimmick now leads a growing team of 25+ volunteers in Colorado who engage with environmentalists who are not regular voters.
The Environmental Voter Project (EVP) is a nonpartisan nonprofit that is focused on finding nonvoting environmentalists and turning them into better voters. EVP doesn’t endorse candidates, doesn’t lobby, and doesn’t even try to persuade people to care about the environment. As EVP Founder Nathaniel Stinnett says, “We’re not in the mind changing business, we’re in the behavior changing business.” How do they do this, quickly and efficiently?
“Whenever I feel like climate change is overwhelming and it’s hopeless, I think of the En-ROADS simulator and how thrilling it is to know that we have the tools to address this - it motivates me to keep going! And it shows what a strong lever the carbon fee & dividend legislation is in addressing global warming. I’m so glad I got to see that presentation.” That’s how one CCL volunteer summed up her experience after participating in an En-ROADS presentation.
Last year, Drew Jones, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive, introduced CCL volunteers to the new climate policy simulator En-ROADS — a fast, powerful tool for understanding how we can achieve our climate goals through changes in energy, land use, consumption, agriculture and other policies.Continue reading
By David Kline, Colorado CCL State Co-Coordinator
In 2019, Colorado enacted climate change legislation that includes targets for greenhouse gases—90% reduction from 2005 levels by 2050, with two interim targets. The key bill is HB 19-1261. The legislation does not use state carbon pricing, which would have been difficult and required a popular vote. Instead it directs the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to enact regulations that will achieve the targets.
The legislation has ambitious targets, and a successful effort would establish Colorado as a leader in state-level climate policy. However, while the targets are “binding” in principle, the legislation provides no teeth for enforcement. This is where public input comes in, and where Colorado CCL volunteers can help.
By Susan Campbell, Colorado Springs Chapter Leader, and Ian Harrison, State Leader, Colorado Conservative Caucus
On June 26, the Colorado Springs City Council voted 7-2 to adopt a new energy plan for the City’s electrical utility. Called “unbelievably historic” by council member Richard Skorman, the new plan pivots from coal-fired generation much sooner than previously planned and relies heavily on renewable sources (including wind, solar, and battery storage) to replace coal, instead of using natural gas.
There is much in this decision that should motivate CCL members, but it's especially exciting given the conservative nature of Colorado Springs. A review of this historic decision validates our commitment to the power of bipartisan political will, shows how conservatives address the risks of climate change, and demonstrates their positive impact on the sustainability of the final decision.Continue reading
“Why should the United States reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions if other countries won’t do their part?” is a question reasonably asked by Republican lawmakers and Conservatives. We CCL volunteers often point to the border adjustment as the way to make it fair, but this Conservative also sees a comparative and competitive advantage for America.Continue reading