Guest editorial: Utahns pressing for climate action

Karen Jackson, Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteer and steering committee member Salt Lake City
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Climate-concerned citizens from Utah will travel to Washington, D.C., this month to talk to Congressional leaders about policy that will reduce carbon pollution. 

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that brings together volunteers from across the political spectrum to advocate for legislation to help solve the problems of a changing climate. Volunteers meet regularly throughout the year with their members of Congress to ask them to support federal policy to lower the heat-trapping emissions altering and polluting our climate.   

On Tuesday, June 13, 18 representatives from the Utah chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) will join 937 other volunteers from across the world to advocate for climate solutions.  

During their day on Capitol Hill the Utah volunteers will meet with the offices of Representatives Curtis, Moore, Stewart and Owens, and Sen. Lee, urging them to work on bipartisan legislation for clean energy, permitting reform and the importance of speed and efficiency in the process while protecting vulnerable communities. We will continue to lobby for a fee on carbon pollution, with the money collected from fossil fuel companies going to Americans in the form of a monthly “carbon cash back” payment so everyone can afford the transition. 

We will also lobby for:  

  • The Risee Act, helping build a clean energy economy and coastal resilience. 
  • The Save Our Sequoias Act, protecting old-growth forests and ensuring the trees continue to sequester carbon.   
  • The Seedlings for Sustainable Habitat Restoration Act, ensuring monies for seedling supplies for critical reforestation efforts.   
  • The READDI  for Disasters Act, ensuring the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and others are factored in during planning for, responding to and mitigating natural disasters.  

Before the lobby meetings, volunteers will attend CCL’s International 2023 Climate Lobbying Reboot June Conference, where they will hear from inspirational speakers such as (working for cleaner air and water, affordable energy, and good jobs for all) Director Jameka Hodnett, and Ambassador Francis Rooney, former Florida Republican Congressman. 

Utah CCL member and student Hailey Keller attended the 2022 conference and said this about how the conference inspired her: It “helped me seek the necessary life/academic/personal skills to advocate for a healthy climate. I have had the privilege to practice public speaking in several ways over the last year, and I think that I have what it takes to communicate even better in this year’s lobby meetings. At the 2022 conference, we made strides in climate policy, through relationship building with each other, staffers, and Members of Congress.” 

Utahns have already felt the impacts of a warming climate with a mega-drought, air pollution, an increase in wildfires and threatened fisheries.  

The good news is although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported an increase in atmospheric levels of polluting carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in 2022, a clean energy transition is swiftly happening in the U.S. Just three months after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, 100,000 climate-friendly jobs were created in the U.S. Additionally, families taking advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits from the bill are set to save more than $1,000 per year

“We are heading in the right direction,” said Bill Barron, CCL Western Regional Director. “But it’s important we push for more.”

Consider joining CCL in the push for more and let’s leave the Earth better than we found it. 


Sunday Drive: Blossoming color on the Nebo loop

The sun created a haze over the southern mountains of the Wasatch Range as we cruised through Payson, bypassing a Marie Osmond garage sale to get up onto the mountain road quickly. As we headed around the first curves of the National Scenic Byway, the backlighting  sun lit up the leaves like a stained glass window.

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