Notes written by Martin Heyman who, with his wife Susan and friend Gary Rucinski, participated in the Citizens Climate Lobby in Washington, DC on June 20th:
Susan and I have just returned from Washington, DC. where we participated, with Gary Rucinski, at the 4 day International Citizens Climate Lobby Conference and annual action on Capitol Hill. 900 volunteers from all over America, Canada, and Europe visited 535 U.S. Senators and Congresspeople or their staff to 1) press upon them the urgent need for direct action to curb CO2 emissions; 2)extend their reach and propose alliances across the aisle; and 3) help the country survive climate disaster by supporting proposed
legislation to impose a fully refundable carbon fee on all fossil fuels manufactured in or imported into the country.
We learned from environmental authorities such as James Hanson, Professor and director of the Earth Science Institute at Columbia University; and Katherine Hayhoe, PHD in Atmospheric Sciences (Univ. of Ill.) and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University that the time for alarm is past; that all ecosystems- draught, storms, glacial melt, ocean life, food supplies are in danger; and that we must have substantial world resolve to curb CO2 emissions completed at the World Conference in Paris in December. The good news according to the experts is that the number of climate change deniers is getting lower. The facts are clear, more data will not help, and it is our obligation now to change the politics.
We met individually with the entire Massachusetts Congressional and Senatorial delegation or their staff. We also met with staffs for congressmen and senators from other states. The responses from all democrats were generally favorable (the republicans were generally negative, but polite), some dramatically enthusiastic, others would sign a bill if presented. Everyone agreed that the bill should be sponsored (or at least endorsed) by a Republican. We will follow up with the staff as a strategy develops.
Finally, it was agreed that a large and active presence in New Hampshire during the presidential primaries will be effective in encouraging the Republicans to debate climate change and establish their positions. It could help bring election of more climate sensitive members to congress.