By Susan Campbell and David Kline, Colorado CCL state co-coordinators
On hearing in-depth explanations of CCL’s new policy agenda at CCL’s December National Conference, CCL members wrote on a word board: “inspired,” “motivated,” “hopeful,” “excited,” and “energized.” Looking forward to taking this agenda to a divided Congress, CCL’s Senior Director of Government Affairs, Jen Tyler, said “we were built for” this.
The new policy agenda has four components, carbon fee and dividend, healthy forests and other natural climate solutions, building electrification and efficiency, and permitting reform. All policies are projected to make big reductions in carbon emissions. The new policies also provide increased opportunities for working with our communities and local officials, building bipartisan bridges, and helping individuals to withstand climate change and take climate action.
The National Conference provided examples of ways that local CCL chapters can implement the new policy agenda. In the field of building electrification and efficiency, CCL chapters can help educate their communities about how to electrify their homes and other buildings and make them more energy efficient, and about the rebates and tax credits available for this under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
On healthy forests and other natural climate solutions, CCL chapters can work on projects and local policies that increase urban tree canopy, replant forests and improve forest management to store more carbon, and help farmers and ranchers to increase climate-smart agricultural practices like silvopasture.
Permitting reform presents new opportunities for CCL to leverage its relationships with federal and state elected officials to develop and pass legislative solutions that increase the speed of permitting clean energy generation and transmission facilities.
CCL’s national leadership is currently encouraging chapters to focus on one or more parts of the agenda that are most energizing for members, suit the nature of their communities, and play to members’ strengths in terms of their networks, background, and expertise. At our December Colorado CCL Leadership Meeting, group leaders and interested chapter members began the discussion of ways that Colorado chapters can start to implement pieces of the new agenda. (Group leaders include chapter leaders and lobby team liaisons, plus other CCL statewide team leaders.) Participants indicated that chapters will be on a learning curve for a time, and that we will need resources to help chapters become knowledgeable and develop strategies for incorporating the new agenda into our climate work.
We discussed several possible options, including whether we should have state cross-chapter action teams, or one or more members who are “on point,” in each of the new policy areas, to support chapters in gaining knowledge and planning approaches. A further idea was to collaborate with other Colorado organizations working on building electrification, natural climate solutions, and/or permitting reform. This might lead to sharing resources, like speakers and research, or developing joint projects with these organizations. CCL leaders and members here in Colorado are already considering opportunities to build relationships with other organizations and local governments as a way of sharing knowledge and advancing the new agenda.
This meeting was just the beginning of our efforts in Colorado to plan how to implement the new climate policy agenda. Over the next months, we expect to have more discussions in our Colorado chapters and leader meetings about how we can best work together and in our communities on the new agenda. If you have ideas or questions about CCL’s new policy agenda or see ways to move it forward in your community or in a statewide project, contact your chapter leader. All interested volunteers are also welcome to attend our state CCL Leadership meetings, which are held on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.
Take action on the new policy agenda:
Want to learn more about the policy agenda and how to take action? If you missed the National Conference, watch recordings of the policy agenda presentations at cclusa.org/presentations (see the YouTube playlist). CCL Community provides a wealth of information and training on the new policy areas. A good starting point is this page: https://community.citizensclimate.org/resources/item/19/495. Also, you can subscribe to CCL Community’s Sitewide Forums on the new policy agenda, where CCL members and staff discuss questions and share latest resources and news.
Other resources on electrification: the Rewiring America website, https://www.rewiringamerica.org/, and its online IRA Savings Calculator, https://www.rewiringamerica.org/app/ira-calculator, where you can calculate IRA incentives for your and others’ home electrification. Also, you can take a deeper dive on electrification in Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future by Saul Griffith, MIT Press 2021, recommended by Phil Nelson, and Sandy Long’s excellent article on heat pumps in this Newsletter, December 2022 edition.