Your Turn: Lawmakers working together on climate

In 1970 after establishing the EPA, President Nixon said, “Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond political party and beyond factions.” In that spirit, it will take courage, commitment and vision to address the growing threat of climate change.

During Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s National Lobby Day on June 12, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins joined the “Climate Solutions Caucus,” along with five other representatives. This brought the caucus total to 84 members. Then, on June 27, Congressman Kevin Yoder and a matching congressman joined the caucus, bringing the total to 86. Two Republican representatives from Kansas!

Thank you to Reps. Jenkins and Yoder for joining this nonpartisan caucus. Because the caucus mandates equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats the members are 43 Republican and 43 Democrat.

Thirty years ago, James Hansen warned Congress that the planet was warming. We are already seeing glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland melting. In May, we surged past another milestone when C02 averaged more than 410 parts per million in the atmosphere after sitting at 280 for the last 10,000 years. Even the pope has urged oil executives that climate change could put human civilization at risk.

Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), a national organization has more than 100,000 members and 450 chapters in almost every congressional district. CCL formed the Climate Solutions Caucus along with Florida Congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Ted Deutch in 2016. The organization has been recruiting for the caucus ever since.

CCL exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs. By building constructive, working relationships with members of Congress, we seek passage of Carbon Fee and Dividend, a climate change solution that bridges the partisan divide.

Carbon Fee and Dividend is a revenue-neutral carbon tax with 100 percent of the net revenue returned directly to households. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 52 percent below 1990 levels within 20 years while growing the economy and saving lives. This far exceeds even the Paris Accord pledges.

Thank you for being true leaders and making a difference that counts. Now Kansas citizens have an opportunity and hopefully an obligation to lobby for action. We can lobby for a real solution like Carbon Fee and Dividend to return our climate and humanity into balance with the web of nature. But only if we help our elected officials to make it a priority.

— Tony Schmidt is state coordinator for Citizen’s Climate Lobby.


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