Climate lobby meeting encourages political participation


Pools of water form in depressions where ice has melted in the Arctic Ocean.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bennett Stansell

The Southern Energy Freedom Tour made its 12th stop in Tuscaloosa to inform citizens how they can use their democratic powers to help solve the global issue of climate change.

Tuscaloosa’s newly formed Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter hosted speaker and CCL Conservative Coordinator Peter Bryn on Wednesday night at Forest Lake Methodist Church. Bryn spoke to an audience of around 30 people about the dangerous potential effects of climate change, the unique solution that Citizens’ Climate Lobby has formulated to prevent them, and how individuals can get involved.

Bryn began his presentation by identifying and explaining ways in which climate change has affected the southeastern United States, specifically mentioning the recent flooding in Louisiana and Mobile.

He then directed the conversation to the solution that Citizens’ Climate Lobby has proposed: Carbon Fee and Dividend. The Carbon Fee and Dividend is described as revenue-neutral legislation that imposes a fee on carbon at the mine, well or point of entry.

“While the idea of a fee on carbon at the source is similar to a carbon tax, it is unlike a carbon tax because it is revenue-neutral,” Bryn said.

The money raised from the carbon fee will not go towards government expansion, it will be returned to households in the form of a monthly dividend.

“The carbon fee is simple, transparent and predictable,” Bryn said.

When discussing Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s plan to pass their Carbon Fee and Dividend plan through Congress, Bryn stressed that they are taking a non-partisan approach and are asking citizens to engage their representatives.

“This organization is designed to empower people to get involved in the political process and make sure their opinion is heard,” Bryn said.

The Carbon Fee and Dividend is not the only focus of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The organization has also facilitated the creation of a Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives and helped with the passing of the Gibson Resolution, a statement made by Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y. that recognizes the impact of climate change and calls for action to reduce further risk.

There are 354 CCL chapters nationwide and according to Bryn, the Southern Energy Freedom Tour will lead to the creation of three to four more. Tuscaloosa’s chapter is considered one of these as it has not officially completed its induction.

Bryn ended his presentation by encouraging the audience to get involved in the newly formed chapter, which is co-chaired by Jones Fowler, a graduate of the University, and Nate Broadhurst, a current student at UA, and which will be the first in the state of Alabama.