The Loomis Chaffee Climate Action group (LCCA) has teamed up with the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) to advocate for the passage of the Carbon Fee and Dividend bill, a solution expected to drastically reduce emissions and prevent the worst impacts of a warming world.
This summer, the LCCA has been in close collaboration with the Greater Hartford Chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots advocacy organization focused on natural policies to address climate change.
Together, the LCCA and CCL have been tackling their main goal— the passage of the Carbon Fee and Dividend bill. This policy would place a steadily increasing price on carbon and other greenhouse gasses with all fees collected —minus administrative costs—returned to households as a monthly dividend. According to the CCL, studies show that in just 20 years, this system could reduce carbon emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels while adding 2.1 million jobs to the American economy.
“It’s a bill that puts economic structure in place to disincentivize fossil fuel reuse,” said science teacher Neil Chaudhary.
In their quest to get this bill to the floor, Neil, along with juniors Karishma Lawrence and Jordan Korn, and sophomore Mattie McCann, were joined by local Connecticut residents and CCL members in virtually lobbying for congressional support.
“This summer, we were able to be a part of the planning and execution of calls with the offices of three congressional representatives in the state: John Larson, Jahana Hayes, and Chris Murphy,” said Neil.
The result of their advocacy seems promising. “In my meeting with John Larson’s aides, they were supportive of the bill. You can never really get a concrete yes or no from some politicians but a lot of the people we met with were inclined to support the bill if it came to the floor,” said Karishma.
“The offices of both John Larson and Chris Murphy have taken strong stances toward climate reform,” said Jordan, who was involved in lobbying meetings with both parties. “A lot of the discussion was ‘why is this bill a good solution?’ rather than ‘why is climate change important?’ which was a unique experience.”
Representative Jahana Hayes also expressed an intention to co-sponsor the Carbon Fee and Dividend bill. “The number of co-sponsors you have is an indication of the likelihood that this bill will be brought to the floor in the first place,” said Neil. He expressed gratitude for the potential new endorsement and the overall experience. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally doable,” he said. “If you want to speak to people at the highest levels of power in this country, all you have to do is be persistent, plan, and don’t give up.”
Now that they have completed their lobbying days for the Carbon Fee and Dividend bill, the LCCA and CCL’s new task is getting the state of Connecticut to declare a climate emergency, which is a piece of legislation passed by a governing body that puts the government on record in support of taking emergency action to reverse global warming.
So far, the LCCA has asked congresswoman Wildaliz Bermudez for her support and advice on how to go about a declaration of a climate emergency in Hartford. “Congresswoman Bermudez has suggested we meet with the Hartford City Council to ask for their support in passing the climate emergency declaration,” said Mattie.
As a personal project, Karishma has been working with the CCL to get her hometown of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, to declare a climate emergency, with the hopes that other Connecticut towns will follow suit. She has since gotten a response from her town’s mayor inviting her and others from her group to present their stance to the town council. “I’ve always been very passionate about the environment,” said Karishma. “Being a part of the LCCA to me is a chance to be a part of something bigger and chance to make concrete change in the world.”