Ana is part of Our Climate's Fellowship Program. She is a senior at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
Gari is first-year studying political science with a concentration in comparative politics at Clark University. As a global citizen – having been born in the Philippines, raised in Hong Kong, and finishing high school in New York City – she found her purpose in addressing global issues including climate change. Outside of her work with Our Climate, she is a political staff writer at FreshU.io and a member of Clark's Model United Nations Team and divestment campaign. She is drawn to work on climate change because of its universality and the impact it has on all levels of society, particularly marginalized communities.
Emily graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2016 where she focused on environmental justice and policy. During her time there she worked as a food sustainability intern, a computer tech at Evergreen's library, a customer service representative at Olympia's Farmers Market, and as an organizer for Thurston County's "Waste Less Food" Campaign. She moved from Olympia to Seattle in 2017 to participate in the Justice Leadership Program where she worked at Earth Ministry, a nonprofit that aims to mobilize the faith community for equitable climate policy. She's excited to join the team as an organizer. Emily can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United States experienced 16 separate billion-dollar disaster events in 2017, including three tropical cyclones, eight severe storms, two inland floods, and numerous droughts and wildfires. Although there is insufficient understanding of climate systems to directly link manmade climate change to these disasters, climate scientists agree that these extreme weather events are becoming more frequent as global temperatures rise due to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
While it is definitely important to consider the monetary costs of last year’s natural disasters, the fact that people are losing their lives to these events is sufficient reason for urgent and potent action to counter the causes of climate change. Most U.S. citizens already recognize the need for climate action, but many are unsure of what that action should be. A simple and effective solution is implementing a price on carbon pollution.
A price on carbon entails charging businesses that extract and/or burn fossil fuels a fee per unit of CO2 released, essentially making them pay to pollute our atmosphere just as you and I pay for our trash to be taken away. Burning fossil fuels has been our primary method of generating energy for the past few centuries because it is cheap. A carbon price would make burning oil, natural gas, and coal more expensive and thereby less financially attractive than renewable energy alternatives like solar and wind. With a sufficiently high price, the transition to clean energy would rapidly accelerate and greenhouse gas emissions would drop, potentially preventing future climate change-induced disasters.
The details of a carbon pricing policy can vary. Most proponents agree that the fee should steadily rise over time, incrementally increasing the pressure on businesses and individuals to switch to renewable energy. This would give businesses and the overall economy time to adapt to a new energy landscape while still making the urgently-needed transition to clean sources. Many also agree that the fee should be charged as far “upstream” as possible, meaning companies importing or extracting the fossil fuels pay the actual fee (based on how much CO2 that fuel will generate when used) and pass on the increased cost of fossil fuels downstream. Carbon pricing proponents also generally claim that a carbon fee should eventually expand to all greenhouse gases (charging per CO2 equivalent).
The major area of disagreement among proponents is how the money raised by the fee should be spent. A revenue-neutral policy would distribute all the money back to citizens, while a revenue-positive policy may distribute some money that way but also would channel some money to government projects or grants. For instance, a revenue-positive policy might help fund new renewable energy projects or help fossil fuel workers obtain jobs in other industries. Either type of policy could effectively transform a fossil-fuel economy into a clean renewable energy economy.
In the U.S., carbon pricing policy proposals exist on both the state and federal levels. In Washington D.C., the volunteer-focused nonprofit Citizens Climate Lobby (“CCL”) has lobbied Congress for over 10 years for a specific carbon price proposal called Carbon Fee and Dividend. In the process, CCL helped form the ever-growing Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives, which currently stands at 34 Republicans and 34 Democrats. Meanwhile, momentum is rapidly growing for carbon pricing proposals in states like Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts, each backed by a state coalition of various interest groups. Many of these campaigns are supported by the national student-based non-profit Our Climate.
2017 demonstrated that there are tangible and immense costs to altering the earth’s natural systems, particularly the atmosphere. If you are concerned about the increasing frequency of natural disasters in the U.S. and beyond, then you should seek out and support carbon pricing efforts wherever you live. Citizens' Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org) has chapters across the country (at least one in every state), and more and more state-based carbon pricing coalitions are coming together and in need of support from people like you. Together we can use our political will to change the future of the planet.
Hogan Dwyer is a former Our Climate Fellow, and is now working on the New York State campaign to #PutAPriceOnIt.
Students Across Massachusetts Plan Youth Lobby Day to Urge State Leaders to Confront Climate Change and Back Carbon Pollution Pricing
Students Meet With Legislators to Discuss Carbon Pollution Pricing Legislation and Deliver Climate Art Mosaic
Boston, Massachusetts: Hundreds of youth from across Massachusetts, including students at Amherst College, Clark University, MIT, Northeastern, Lasell College, Boston University, Emerson College and preschools and high schools in the Boston area, delivered a message to state legislators to support carbon pricing today, a bipartisan climate solution to add a cost to climate pollution and incentive clean energy. As part of the youth lobby day, students created cardboard “tiles” with creative representations of each participant’s story of why they love Massachusetts and want to see it protected from climate change. The tiles included depictions of family, nature, skiing and renewable energy to name a few. This Youth Lobby Day took place two weeks days before the deadline for S.1821 and H.1726, two carbon pricing bills in the state legislature, to be reported out of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Electricity (TUE) committee. "I am thrilled to be a part of Youth Lobby Day because I think that carbon pricing is one of the most solid methods for combating climate change. It makes big polluters responsible for their actions, redistributes wealth and is feasible enough it is already being voted upon!" said Maddy Buchman, a student at Clark University.
Youth lobby day highlights the true costs of climate change, which affects the youngest generations the most. “The burden of those costs falls especially hard on young people. Carbon pollution pricing is the single most effective tool we have to encourage a shift toward more reliable and ultimately less expensive renewable energy, and to create a stronger economic foundation for the future,” said Cindy Luppi, the New England Director of Clean Water Action of the Clean Energy Future Coalition. Without climate solutions like carbon pricing, millennials are expected to lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income. By putting a price on carbon, polluters will be required to account for the true costs of fossil fuels and reduce emissions. Carbon pricing a powerful, bipartisan policy solution to reduce carbon pollution, stave off global warming and its catastrophic effects, and allow renewable energy to flourish.
“It is thrilling to see how excited young people in Massachusetts are for real climate action. This art project has united hundreds of students across the state who are concerned about climate change, and eager to build community and creatively rally for strong climate policy to protect our future,” said Carrie Cullen, a student at Emerson College and Our Climate organizer. “The scale and reach of Tuesday’s event demonstrated to legislators that we are ready for smart, swift action on this all-encompassing crisis, and that our state is poised to lead the nation with strong climate policy.”
Today’s the day: Giving Tuesday!
I’m sure your inboxes, voicemails, and mailboxes are flooded with #GivingTuesday asks for your support, and we are grateful that this day of giving has gone viral and millions of dollars will be donated today.
Since you’ve decided to learn more about our #GivingTuesday campaign, we wanted to make sure you heard directly from our students about why they give to Our Climate, the #PutAPriceOnIt campaign, and the movement to pass a strong carbon price in states around the country.
Sydney Scout is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. After migrating South over the past five years, she has currently landed in Portland, Oregon. Sydney holds a Bachelors degree from Oregon State University, as well as a Masters of Public Policy degree and Graduate Certificate in Energy Policy and Management from Portland State University. Professionally, Sydney manages campaigns for women running for state and local office. Sydney began volunteering with Our Climate in early 2015 when she was part of the organization's first class of Fellows. She is excited to be continuously involved as the organization evolves and grows.
FROM THE STUDENTS
National Voter Registration Day Video Reaches 15,000
Student leaders from across the country created this video imploring you to book it to the voting booth at every opportunity. Many of them celebrated National Voter Registration Day by organizing campus events and directing their friends to our website, where you can sign up to receive reminders when an election is taking place in your area. Hear from the next generation of climate leaders, and then register to vote!
Safe Climate PA Draws Over 60 Students to State's Capital
Students from across Pennsylvania convened in Harrisburg to learn about carbon pricing, explore how to advocate effectively, and make plans to #PutAPriceOnIt. Speakers included Jerry Taylor of the libertarian Niskanen Center and Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP. Check out photos from the event, and tell your PA friends to get in touch so we can work together to hold polluters accountable.
STATE CAMPAIGN UPDATES
Full steam ahead in Massachusetts
As Massachusetts lawmakers consider two carbon pricing bills, students across the state are #OnIt. In addition to 6 active college president endorsement campaigns, students in key districts are drafting op-eds to build community support for the policy. Op-eds will be placed on and around Nov. 18, in sync with the Climate Legacy Project, to “immortalize” students’ commitment and dedication to climate action--and show elected officials that the time is now to #PutAPriceOnIt.
100+ Young people show up for Vermont hearings
Out of 161 speakers, most of whom were young people, 103 advocated for carbon pricing at recent listening hearings held by the Governor-appointed Climate Action Commission. Op-eds in support of carbon pricing were simultaneously published by Green Mountain College President Bob Allen and Bennington College student Sabrina Melendez. Following Governor Scott's statement that he will not support the policy, we launched the #Ignored social media campaign with our friends at Energy Independent Vermont to amplify student voices. Stay tuned for info on an upcoming training in VT!
It's time to rally for Clean Energy Jobs, Oregon
If you’ve been wondering how you can #PutAPriceOnIt in Oregon, then join the Clean Energy Jobs coalition by organizing a house party! The coalition is setting its most ambitious goal yet: to hold 36 house parties, at least one in every county, along with rallies across the state. The time is now to mobilize around the Clean Energy Jobs bill, so we're ready to hit the ground running and win in early 2018. RSVP to join a house party in your community.
Student Climate Leadership Training in NYC
This Sunday, October 22, we’re hosting our second carbon pricing advocacy training in NYC. Space is limited, so please RSVP today!
DC friends: Let's get lunch next Wednesday
Our nation's capital could be the first in the U.S. to enact a carbon fee, but it will take dedicated grassroots organizing to make it happen. This Wednesday, October 25, spend your lunch break at the “We Can’t Wait” DC Carbon Rebate Rally! We'll meet at 12 PM at the Council Building, and will be joined by Councilmembers Vince Gray and David Grosso. RSVP here.
Two Webinars: Mark Magaña from GreenLatinos on 10/30 and Ben Rubin from Climate Nexus on 11/1
GreenLatinos is a national coalition of Latino environmental and conservation leaders. Mark Magaña, their Founding President and CEO, will discuss how young people can build an inclusive climate movement to achieve transformative policy wins. The webinar is on Monday, October 30 at 7 PM ET. RSVP to join us!
Making your voice heard in the media is a powerful way to build momentum for bold climate policies. If you’re a student that's ready to speak up about the importance of climate action, join our webinar with Ben Rubin of Climate Nexus on Wednesday, November 1st at 8 PM ET.
Additional Put A Price On It events can be found on the campaign website.
We're hiring to #PutAPriceOnIt in the Pacific Northwest!
We're looking for candidates in Oregon and Washington who are team players, results oriented, and dedicated to Our Climate's mission. Sound like you? Sound like someone you know? Check it out and share!
Thank you, Threshold Foundation!
We are deeply grateful for the Threshold Foundation's support of our work to #PutAPriceOnIt since 2015. Threshold's sustained investment has provided financial stability and security to our growing organization, and allowed us to develop rising leaders as they address one of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Help us build the movement: Become a Monthly Sustainer
As we gear up for 2018, Our Climate leaders are ready to take state legislatures by storm and demand bold solutions to climate change. Sound like something you'd like to support? Become a Monthly Sustainer today!
Cassidy is Our Climate’s Program Director. She develops and maintains the Our Climate Leadership Development program, builds partner relationships, and cultivates an inventory of educational tools for climate policy advocates across the country. Cassidy’s passion for the fight against climate change has taken many forms. She assisted in a federal environmental depredation trial, studied greenhouse gas emissions in the Columbia River Gorge, taught children organic farming methods, and served as a fellow for Oregon Climate in 2015. This fall, she will join SustainUS as part of the Youth Delegation at the World Bank. She holds degrees in Environmental Studies and International Relations from Knox College.
Hogan is a rising junior at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he is majoring in Environmental Studies and Philosophy and is active in the fossil fuel divestment movement. In 2016, he and other students were the first to officially present on divestment to the St. Lawrence Board of Trustees. Excited by the potential widespread appeal of a price on carbon, Hogan plans to launch a #PutAPriceOnIt campaign at St. Lawrence in the fall of 2017. A self-proclaimed foodie, Hogan has a passion for environmentally-conscious eating habits such as eliminating food waste and eating local and homemade. He is known to scrape peanut butter jars clean and gleefully eat leftovers in the name of “No food waste.”
This summer, in addition to his work as a Fellow, Hogan is a political intern for the New Jersey Sierra Club and an intern for the South Mountain Conservancy, a nonprofit that cares for North Jersey’s South Mountain Reservation.