Marin CCL Newsletter

January 9, 2023

If images don't appear,

Global warming has moisturized the atmosphere 7% per degree Celsius and made "atmospheric rivers" more potent. We hope all stay safe and dry during the current extreme rainfall event.




CCL Has Expanded Its Focus. Why?

CCL was born in 2009 to create the political will for a livable world and empower citizens to influence their governments. For over 13 years we've worked towards that mission by advocating specifically for a Carbon Fee and Dividend. We almost got there this past summer -- our friend Sen. Whitehouse told us he had 49 votes for a carbon tax -- but the politics ultimately fell short. Instead, we got the historic Inflation Reduction Act. Now we must see it through and build on it.

Aligning with the times, CCL has thus expanded its policy agenda. We have the power to do more for the climate without diminishing our efforts to pass CF&D, which we still believe will ultimately be necessary. With the growth of CCL’s supporter base, we now have the capacity to take on additional objectives in a way that wasn’t feasible in the past. This creates more opportunities for YOU to work locally and nationally with aligned interest groups.

The new focus includes:

Here's Research Coordinator Dana Nuccitelli's engaging, detailed December 3 talk on this change in focus.

Watch Dana's talk on the historic Inflation Reduction Act and how CCL helped get it done.

Dana will again present CCL's updated policy agenda on January 31, 2023 at 5 PM PT here. You can participate live at that time.

Coming soon:

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

4:30-5:15 PT

Rep. Jared Huffman in a virtual meeting with all CA02 CCL members, from 4:30-5:15 PT.

Rep. Huffman will share his views on the new Congress, and how we can help move climate action forward.

Then, from 5:15-6:00, we'll discuss how CCL's new policy agenda intersects with Congress' and other climate groups' goals, and how your activism can expand in 2023 and beyond.

Please email here to request the link.

(You can also stream Rep. Huffman's August 30 Book Passage appearance with Dr. Michael Mann here.)

But first:

Marin Conservation League's

Climate Action Working Group hosts

Congressman Huffman discussing

 Congressional Climate Actions & Prospects

Friday, January 20 at 9:00 am

Congressman Huffman will discuss the significant climate progress achieved in 2022 and prospects for continuing the momentum in the new term, including:

Register here.

CCL National Call

Saturday, January 14, 2023, 10:00 AM PT

The En-ROADS Climate Policy Simulator


Andrew Jones

MIT Sloan School School of Business,

Climate Interactive Executive Director

Note: CCL Marin chapter's next membership call will take place February 15 after our meeting with Rep. Huffman.

Many CCLr's have had fun with En-ROADS, the extremely cool climate policy simulator, exploring what it will take to keep global warming below dangerous levels. Some have taken the multi-week course to become an En-ROADS "ambassador," trained to teach others how to use it, and some have shared the model with their legislators.

Thanks to Andrew and his team at Climate Interactive, it's easy to model how combinations of various solutions would affect global temperatures. No surprises: There are no single "silver bullets," and pricing carbon alone has the greatest additive impact on other measures. In fact, it's essential.

As CCL explores other avenues to address climate change, this simulator helps show us how to most effectively get there and the necessity of a carbon price.

 Join the discussion here on January 14


Have fun with En-ROADS.

Got Hope?

Jan. 30th, 6-7:30 PT

Fostering Hope in the Face of Climate Change

Presented by


Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson (Ministry for the Future) and others, including Marin CCL Youth Action Team leader Harita Kalvai

Anyone who's read KSR's Ministry for the Future knows that we surely need hope.

Next stop: Permitting Reform

Why is it easier to build oil and gas pipelines than electricity transmission lines?

It's not enough to throw money at building renewable energy projects. You have to get that energy to where people use it. The environmental movement must shift from a focus on blocking bad things to building the things we need for a clean energy future. 

CCL's Research Coordinator Dana Nuccitelli explains the importance of streamlining the permitting process for new electricity transmission lines in order to meet our climate goals. And as with all things political, it's complicated. 

Here's the video.  Here are his slides, and for policy wonks, the detailed discussion by Tony Sirna, CCL Strategy Director. 

Wonk Room

CBAM? What's that?

You're about to hear a lot more about CBAM's, so watch Niskanen Center's climate policy manager Shuting Pomerleau discuss Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms with over 500 audience members at CCL's December's conference. Hear about the goals, importance, and policy design considerations of carbon border adjustments. Wonky, yes, but ready or not, here it comes.

From Nerd Corner

Why Taxing Bad Things is Good: ‘Putting a Price’ on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Carbon Emissions

Jonathan Marshall, Economics Research Coordinator

For over a century, economists have advocated taxing goods or services that impose greater costs on society than their price reflects. The idea isn’t to raise revenue, even if that’s a nifty benefit, but to discourage the overuse of things that cause unintended harm. 

No bigger example of such unintended harm exists today than the air and climate pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The International Monetary Fund conservatively estimates that the price of such fuels fails to account for $4.2 trillion in air and climate pollution costs each year.

By imposing a fee on fossil fuels to fairly reflect those social costs, on the other hand, we can invoke the power of the market to efficiently limit their use. That’s why more than 3,600 economists call carbon fees “the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary.”

Public support for carbon fees would be stronger if everyone grasped how they work to discourage the production and consumption of goods that cause societal harm. Unfortunately, many people don’t get it. 

“The expectation that carbon taxes do not work is one of the main reasons for their rejection by people in surveys and real ballots,” an international scholarly review concluded in 2018. For example, only 39 percent of respondents in one Swedish poll understood that a carbon tax “affects my own and other people’s behavior.”

The same misunderstanding certainly exists in the United States. In 2008, Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush, lamented the “particularly large gap between economists and the public” when it came to understanding the use of taxation to put a price on social costs. His prime example was the contradiction between public support for encouraging the use of alternative fuels and public skepticism toward taxes on fossil energy. 

One of the best ways people learn is through analogies. To that end, public understanding of carbon taxes may be facilitated by recalling more familiar taxes on harmful goods, including tobacco and alcohol. All of these taxes enhance public health and well-being without resorting to counterproductive prohibitions. Recounting their proven record of success may open minds to the efficacy and desirability of carbon fees.

Kicking the habit with tobacco taxes

For decades, tobacco industry-funded experts downplayed risks to health from smoking, just as industry-funded climate deniers still do regarding the global risks from the burning of fossil fuels. Today, however, virtually everyone accepts the scientific consensus that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. 

Experts estimate the economic costs of smoking at close to $400 billion a year in the United States, including medical care and lost productivity. In 2004, Duke University health economists pegged the social cost of smoking to family members and unrelated individuals at $6.88 per pack.

Cigarette taxes only go part way toward reflecting that full social cost. The federal government levies an excise tax of $1.01 per pack, and state cigarette taxes added an average $1.91 per pack in 2018.

Still, those taxes bring enormous public benefits. Despite the highly addictive nature of tobacco, expert studies suggest that a 10 percent increase in prices cut adult cigarette consumption by about 4 percent. High tobacco taxes helped drive smoking rates among U.S. adults from 43 percent in 1965 to 14 percent in 2018.

Based on the evidence from dozens of studies from around the world, the World Health Organization declared in 2021 that increasing tobacco excise taxes is “the most effective and cost-effective measure to reduce tobacco use and save lives.” (Emphasis added.)

Better than Prohibition

The infamous U.S. experiment with banning the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, known as Prohibition, came to an end in 1933, but the problems it sought to address, including cirrhosis, alcoholic psychosis, infant mortality, depression, and violence, are still with us.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 

excessive alcohol use led to more than 140,000 deaths and 3.6 million years of potential life lost each year in the United States from 2015 – 2019, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 26 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.

In lieu of a heavy-handed ban on the sale of alcohol, federal and state governments today tax distilled spirits, beer, and wine at separate rates — with beer and wine generally enjoying a huge preference based on alcohol content. State tax rates vary wildly, from a virtually non-existent 2 cents per gallon of beer in Wyoming to $33.22 per gallon of spirits in Washington.

Clearly these tax rates were not carefully designed by economists to reflect the true social costs of alcohol consumption. One respected team of scholars reported in 2019 that alcohol taxes covered only about a tenth of the total economic costs imposed on society.

Still, dozens of studies confirm that taxes can discourage excessive alcohol drinking and attendant health effects. Investigators typically find that a 10 percent increase in price cuts beer consumption about 5 percent and spirits consumption about 8 percent. As one systematic review concluded, “these results constitute strong evidence that raising alcohol excise taxes is an effective strategy for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.”


Anyone who has ever thought twice about smoking or binge drinking due to the high cost has at least a basic understanding of the power of taxes to discourage the production and consumption of harmful goods. Carbon taxes, of course, have a far greater economic impact, fall on businesses as well as individuals, and can’t be avoided as easily through abstinence as taxes on liquor or cigarettes. But with every purchase, each of these taxes can help society by making us face the true cost of our decisions to public health and the environment.


Doubt, Denial and Delay -- that was yesterday. Now it's Deception, Distraction, Disinformation and Doomism. Don't buy it. For more, watch Dr. Michael Mann's talk at Book Passage on The New Climate War. 

On the two year anniversary of the attack on our democracy: You're invited, but...

This is how one behaves inside The Capitol:

Make an appointment. Business attire recommended. Bring nothing that even looks like a weapon.

Visit CCL's website
Visit Marin CCL

Prepared by Peter G. Joseph, M.D. 

[email protected]

Apologies for cross postings

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