Climate Change Team in Action — Join Us

Storm from SpaceBy Regina Beatus, Climate Change Team Chair

Our League will co-sponsor a forum, Putting a Price on Carbon, with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Ecology Center and Berkeley Climate Action Coalition. The forum, “Solving the Climate Crisis: Carbon Pricing 101” will be held Monday, November 2, 7:00–9:00 pm at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Learn more about revenue and spending options at Diz Swift’s website PriceonCarbon.org, which has been endorsed by the LWVUS Advocacy Committee.

For several years, Carol Stone has been our League representative in the Community Choice Energy Working Group of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition. Their efforts and others have led to Alameda County’s feasibility study for a possible county Community Choice Energy Program with $1.3 million allocated for this project. After LWVBAE Board approval, President Nancy Bickel brought this to the Alameda County Council, which consists of six local leagues, to get their support. They have approved in concept.

Committee members are working hard to help pass SB32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act: emissions limits equivalent to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050) and SB350 (Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015). At the LWVC State Convention in San Diego in May we held a successful caucus on these two bills to get Leagues mobilized. In Berkeley, committee members met with Mayor Tom Bates to discuss greenhouse gas reductions and how we can help pass these bills. During session recess is a good time to lobby legislators. Janice Blumenkrantz, Cynthia Lloyd, Bob MacDonald and Ruby MacDonald are working with Bay Area League President Linda Craig and state League representatives Trudy Schafer and Joanne Levitt to move the bills forward. State League has asked Leagues represented by swing assembly members to lobby their representatives using a sample letter and talking points. The Climate Team has written a sample letter. Ruby prepared a contact list of Leagues with critical votes. Tools are in place for when the State League moves forward with a Call to Action. Both SB32 and SB350 have passed the Senate. The vote in the Assembly will likely be in September.

Carol Stone helped organize a pop-up caucus on “Crude Oil by Rail” at the League State Convention, an issue of state- and nationwide concern. Slides and information originally presented at an Environmental Concerns meeting last year by Leslie Stewart (Diablo League) were used at the caucus. We plan to write a “letter of concern” to the state League about this issue, quoting positions of relevance regarding hazardous materials. This could then be forwarded to the national League.

We’re looking ahead to plan climate caucuses at the League National Convention in Washington, D.C. June 2016. LWVUS President Elizabeth MacNamara has requested having one caucus focus on how to pose climate questions to candidates. Our Team will brainstorm on possible questions. Please join us with your input.

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