Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Illinois citizen lobbyists push for bold climate action in Washington

By meerna Jun12,2024

Joe Tedino

I plan to be in Washington this week with more than 30 other Illinoisans and about 1,000 people from all 50 states heading to the Capitol for hundreds of meetings with lawmakers on climate. We will discuss the urgent need to reduce carbon pollution in America, focusing on legislative solutions that we hope will gain congressional support and ultimately be enacted into law.

Each of us has a stake in solving the climate crisis, which seems to be getting worse every time I check social media, pick up a newspaper, or turn on the radio. Illinois residents have seen the negative effects of climate change first-hand: Lake Michigan’s ice cover was at record low and snowpack was at record low last winter. Last month, scientists in Illinois noted that some disease-carrying ticks are now migrating to our area due to milder winters and earlier spring warming.

I am not a paid lobbyist, and neither are people like me in Chicago, Naperville, Lake Zurich, and elsewhere in Illinois. We are ordinary people from all walks of life who will be on Capitol Hill to address the impacts of climate change – one meeting and one conversation at a time.

Shyia Whiting of Markham, an Illinois State University student who will join us, said she wants to “put action” on her climate concerns by talking to “people who have the power to change the way we protect our climate.”

People come out in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Citizen lobbyists from Illinois and across the country came to Washington this week to urge Congress to take action on climate issues.
Associated Press File photo

Another student going on the trip, Cristina Mac Cormac, a Penn State University sophomore from Lake Zurich, said she hopes “more young people will get involved in the fight to pass environmental policy.” He welcomes the opportunity to make a “direct impact on this fight.”

A recent CBS News poll found that 70% of participants supported the United States taking steps to reduce climate change, yet many of our elected officials are not acting quickly enough to implement solutions to reduce the carbon pollution that is destroying our environment. That’s why we’re taking a break from our normal routine and heading to Washington, D.C. this week for the Citizens Climate Lobby’s summer conference, which includes a full day of meetings with our elected officials on Capitol Hill to encourage bold climate action.

For years, I and others like me have advocated for Congress to take action to put a price on carbon pollution, and we will continue to do so. That’s because we know it’s the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly reduce America’s carbon pollution—by as much as 50% by the end of this decade.

Additionally, while in Washington, we will ask our representatives in Congress to pass legislation that can speed permitting of new clean energy infrastructure and increase the resilience of the power grid. Lawmakers passed some enabling reform measures last year, but these are only a small fraction of what’s needed. We still need to step up broadcast projects and improve early community engagement. For example, the BIG WIRES Act, which was introduced in the Senate and House last fall, will help ensure America has a reliable, resilient grid that can deliver clean, affordable electricity.

In recent months, as part of the CCL initiative, volunteers like me have been summarizing our climate conversations. Since April, we have had over 30,000 calls across the country to discuss the climate crisis with our families and friends, people at work and neighbors.

Regular conversations with representatives of the Republican and Democratic Congress are essential to enacting the bold policy solutions needed to reduce climate pollution and accelerate a clean energy future that benefits everyone.

Joe Tedino, a communications consultant in Chicago, volunteers with the Citizens Climate Lobby.

By meerna

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