What do you want? Climate action!
When do we want it? Now!
That refrain was repeated by attendees at the request of speaker Robbin Anderson during the Community Climate Change event held Sept. 22 on the courthouse steps in Quincy.
Anderson, a Portola resident and member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, was the last of seven presenters to address the crowd that gathered — some holding signs addressing the need to take action on climate change now.
A coalition of local political groups called the Plumas-Sierra Political Coalition sponsored the event.
“This is an issue we cannot put aside or expect to take care of itself,” said Faith Strailey, one of the organizers, before she paid tribute to Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl who ignited renewed passion on the topic. Thunberg addressed Congress as well as the United Nations during her trip to the United States in late September.
Bill Martin, who introduced each of the speakers, talked about the changes he implemented in his home to make it zero net energy. He also addressed the importance of forests and thinning them. “We are in the middle of a natural carbon storage system … We can’t control wind, drought, ignition sources, or suppression costs — but we can attempt to control forest fuels and their density.”
He ended his remarks with “Think globally, act locally.”
That concept was echoed by the next speaker, Kylie Anderson, a junior at the Plumas Charter School. “We hear that Plumas County is too small to make a difference; you are never too small to make a difference.”
Teresa Arrate, the education director at Plumas Audubon Society, focused on what climate change is doing to the birds. “They’re the proverbial canary in the coal mine,” she said.
Arrate said the some bird populations will adapt, some will move and some will go extinct.
“Climate change is throwing off the choreography” of the earth’s ecosystem, she said, adding that birds are “telling us the climate crisis is happening and happening faster” than anticipated.
Jason Christian, an economist whose 1997 essay on the Quincy Library Group, “The Lorax Lives in Loyalton,” interrupted his remarks when a diesel truck drove by. He acknowledged the issue facing rural Americans who need such vehicles, but which come at a cost to the environment.
Elizabeth Ramsey, an environmental studies student at Feather River College, advocates forest thinning in the aftermath of the Camp Fire and said, “I believe future generations deserve to see the Sierra Nevada forests in all their glory and not just through photos or textbooks.”
Her professor, Darla DeRuiter, cited a United Nations report that cited the loss of 1 million species and told the audience that “we need to put nature first.”
Jane Braxton Little, an award-winning journalist based in Indian Valley, has focused on climate change since 2016.
“Climate grief is real,” she said. “As a journalist I try to find people, places working on it.”
She traveled to Japan this past summer and interviewed business people and individuals making a difference. “What can we do?” she asked, and then listed several suggestions including: switch to solar, don’t drink out of plastic, limit travel to that which is essential, don’t eat beef, keep hassling government officials, turn off the AC, and “love your neighbor because peace takes less energy than war.”
Robbin Anderson said she has lobbied in Washington, D.C. twice for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The group is 150,000 strong and is endorsing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act that it helped author. (See sidebar for details.)
“We have seen change; we have moved the needle,” she said of the response that they are seeing.
Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
How does it work? This explanation is shared on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website.
This policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low, and grows over time. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.
The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. Program costs are paid from the fees collected. The government does not keep any of the money from the carbon fee.
Border Carbon Adjustment
To protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, imported goods will be assessed a border carbon adjustment, and goods exported from the United States will receive a refund under this policy.
This policy preserves effective current regulations, like auto mileage standards, but pauses the EPA authority to regulate the CO2 and equivalent emissions covered by the fee, for the first 10 years after the policy is enacted. If emission targets are not being met after 10 years, Congress gives clear direction to the EPA to regulate those emissions to meet those targets. The pause does not impact EPA regulations related to water quality, air quality, health or other issues. This policy’s price on pollution will lower carbon emissions far more than existing and pending EPA regulations.