Marin Chapter Newsletter
December 19, 2020

CCL exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power. -- Mission Statement

We hope all of you are staying safe and sane. Our hearts go out to those affected by the fires, the virus and all their many impacts. We must carry on with increased energy and focus.

A warning on climate and the risk of societal collapse
260 Alarmed Scientists and Academics

As the world acknowledges the 5th anniversary of the Paris Accord, we hear a lot about "climate ambition." What exactly does that mean? Ominous data indicate that global warming is accelerating at an alarming pace, threatening organized civilization, yet human society lags decades behind the curve. Yes, it's great that President Biden intends to re-enter the Paris Accord, with its symbolic commitment to "ambition," temperature goals already out of reach and unenforceable national intentions. But "ambition" is about future intention, like what you want to be when you grow up. What we really need is urgency. Urgency is about now -- today -- like when you get the order to evacuate immediately.

Carbon tax proponents are justified in asking, "How, as long as fossil fuels remain artificially "cheap," can they possibly be abandoned in time to save civilization from self-destruction?" Carbon tax skeptics need to ask and answer that question.

We simply can't succeed without the brute force of the global economy on our side, providing the wind in our sails. That means dramatically raising the cost of heat-trapping gas emissions, so their prices finally reflect their enormous real costs, and doing so in a way that people will tolerate. We know how, so what are we waiting for?

Don't get too excited about those cooling blue zones in the north and south Atlantic. They're due to cold fresh meltwater runoff from Greenland and Antarctica, which is impacting global ocean circulation. (Not good)
The Federal Reserve Just Took A Major Step Forward On Climate
The U.S. central bank is joining the financial equivalent of the Paris Agreement, becoming one of the last of its peers to do so. (What happened to America first?)

Spoiler alert:
Republicans warn Fed about plans for climate regulation
The Republicans urged the Fed to limit its involvement in the international Network for Greening the Financial System, a group of central banks and regulatory agencies focused on mitigating financial shocks arising from climate risks. (Why?)
What a difference an election makes:
Biden Put Climate at the Heart of His Campaign. Now He’s Delivered Groundbreaking Nominees
And speaking of The Fed:
Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury Pick, Could Be Key To Confronting Climate

As a signatory of The Economists' Statement on Carbon Dividends, the Treasury Secretary-in-Waiting has declared her support for carbon fee and dividend.
How to better tackle climate change
Former U.S. Secretary of State and President Biden's newly appointed international climate envoy

"The United States is a country that makes the market work and, notably in the case of climate change, we have the opportunity to make the market work in a way that creates record numbers of jobs to build our way back to a strong economy and shared prosperity...With carbon pricing, those causing emissions pay for the cost of damage. Without carbon pricing, we all pay the cost. Indeed, carbon pricing allows citizens, innovators, and companies to make independent decisions that drive their emissions reductions...The World Bank tells us that the price of a ton of carbon needs to reach at least $100 over the next decade if the international community is to meet the targets of the Paris climate accord..."
(Let the carbon pricing debate kick into high gear at the highest levels!)

Canada set to raise carbon price considerably over next decade
Plan extends price trajectory to $170 per ton by 2030.

Canada has announced its plan for carbon pricing through 2030. Although the price was increasing by CAN$10 each year through 2022, it will now go up by $15 each year afterward. That means it would reach $170 per ton of CO2 in 2030—notably higher than current prices around the world. For this reason the government will “explore the potential of border carbon adjustments”—a type of import tax meant to protect domestic industry from goods produced in countries without similar carbon taxes. (Like...US)

Can Carbon Taxes Do the Job?

Taxes on fossil fuels will not achieve miracles if they are capped too low or restricted to just a few industries. However, the well-studied experiences of the U.K., British Columbia, and Sweden prove that carbon taxes not only can, but do, have powerful impacts on greenhouse gas emissions when set reasonably high and given broad coverage. With its steadily rising fee levels and application to virtually the entire economy, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act should slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions even more dramatically than these examples, justifying political action to make it a centerpiece of national climate policy.
Debunking myths about carbon pricing
Robert Archer
Yale trained, veteran USAID energy economist,
Marin CCL steering committee and
Lead, Economics Policy Network

Misleading Narratives: The “Silver Bullet” 

The persistence of misleading narratives fogs the dialogue needed to arrive at effective, equitable and efficient climate policies.

One such narrative is that “a carbon tax is not a silver bullet.” Given that no single climate policy is ever a silver bullet, why is this narrative so often applied to the carbon fee policy?

Opposition to a carbon fee comes from some progressives claiming it isn’t effective and conversely, from opponents who claim it will kill jobs and growth. Neither reflect reality

As a small organization, Citizens’ Climate Lobby chooses to focus its advocacy primarily on the fee and dividend. However, this does not mean opposition to other complementary policies. 

The carbon fee isn’t a silver bullet. It is, however, the most powerful, broad-based foundational climate policy, significantly impacting 75% of the climate problem—emissions from coal, oil and gas. With the household dividend, it is the most equitable, efficient, effective and politically durable single climate policy on the table.

For centuries, pricing has been a powerful tool influencing consumption, investment and innovation. It is also widely recognized that markets don’t always work perfectly. In some situations, there are market and non-market impediments that keep carbon pricing from fully impacting consumption and investment decisions. 

Because of these impediments, the following policy guidelines can help identify which complementary subsidies, regulations and mandates are justified to supplement a carbon fee: 

(i) No Impact: Where a carbon fee does not impact a source of emissions e.g., forests and agriculture sequestration;
(ii) Inadequate Impact: Where the impact of a carbon fee is inadequate, e.g., rental apartments where misaligned incentives between owner and tenant justify supplementary policies like building codes and energy efficiency programs;
(iii) Co-Benefits: Where a policy may bring only incremental emissions reductions but provide significant co-benefits e.g., improved air and health.

Finding the specific set of policies that are effective, efficient and equitable is the challenge. 

And the basics:

The next session of Congress will see the introduction of more carbon pricing bills, and we want to be ready to garner local business leaders' support. Our Business Outreach Committee wants to assist Marin business leaders in focusing their political influence towards passing specific carbon legislation such as that unanimously recommended by our Board of Supervisors and the California Legislature.

If you would like to participate, introduce us to owners, CEOs or other business executives who want to learn more, please contact Debbie Patrick. Thanks!
Marin CCL membership meeting
Hear what our chapter is up to and how you can participate. We'll discuss what the new political landscape means for climate action.
Saturday, January 9 at 9 AM
RSVP here for the Zoom link

Followed by the National call at 10 AM
With Noah Kaufman, Columbia University economist, lead author of the 2019 assessment of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, soon to be reintroduced, which confirmed its environmental and economic effectiveness.
Details here

Save the date!
CCL's Virtual California Conference
February 27-28, 2021

Our kids would like a word with us:
You are invited to join a youth-led climate change poetry event on behalf of The Marin Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Marin School of Environmental Leadership. This inspiring event will feature live spoken word performances by local youth poets, as well as presentations on a variety of climate change topics.
Thank you, Clean Air Act!

No, a carbon tax does not do away with clean air regulations.
NYC, 1970
While sheltering in place, have you been active? (Yes, it's still possible.)
Better days: Bay Area CCL members with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (front row, blue blazer, big smile) when she was awarded the 2018 Stephen Schneider Award by the Commonwealth Club, before social distancing became de rigeur.

If you've (safely) done something that qualifies as a CCL activity -- interactions with the media, the public, contact with elected representative -- please let us know. These important stats continue to be very impressive, despite the shutdowns. Please contact Ray Welch with details.
What's New with the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act?
It will soon be reintroduced in the next session
85 Congressional Cosponsors
614 Businesses
98 Faith Groups
100 Local governments
168 Nonprofits
21 News Media
384 Prominent Individuals
Stay safe, everyone! Next year will be better.
Please contribute to Marin CCL
Help cover printing and other expenses for tabling, outreach, youth participation, etc.
Send your (non-tax deductible) check to:
Marin Citizens' Climate Lobby
95 Central Avenue, Sausalito, CA 94965
If everyone contributed 10 bucks we'd be more than fine!

If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please send their email after obtaining their permission, or better yet, have them join CCL.
Prepared by Peter G. Joseph, M.D. 
Apologies for cross postings