Dear CCL members,
A few days ago, some of my friends were commenting that many things are going wrong with the world, and they wished there was something they could do. While the problems may seem overwhelming, all of us working together can make a difference. You have taken a first step by reading an email from Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an organization that brings together 200,000 volunteers from all over the world to attempt to halt the destructive power of climate change. CCL has always understood that climate change solutions would require action at the national and international levels and has built an organization founded on the principle of encouraging elected officials to act.
What else can you do? This newsletter offers many ideas for things that could fit your interests and talents, including tabling, research, and writing. Important efforts are being made at the local level that you will want to know about. And we conclude this month with a book review that might be of interest.
At our monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 21, Bob Carline, will tell us about the excellent work that Trout Unlimited is doing. We will hear from two of our members who attended the national CCL conference in Washington DC. Because our area is once again experiencing high Covid transmissions, our meeting will be held on Zoom. We will discuss alternatives for future get-togethers. What would you prefer? What are you comfortable with during these uncertain times? Should our meetings be hybrid, zoom, in-person, outdoors, some other options??
I hope to hear your ideas at our monthly meeting.
Tuesday, June 21
5:30pm – 7pm
June’s meeting will be on Zoom only. We will not be meeting in person this month due to the high Covid transmission status for Centre County.
CCL members in action
This month’s CCL OpEd in the Centre Daily Times was by John Swisher and was entitled Climate Watch: Will Technological Solutions Solve the Climate Crisis? John’s thoughtful piece assessed the contributions that different technologies can make to solving the climate crisis.
Join our Tabling
One of the most powerful ways of spreading the word about climate solutions is face-to-face interaction at public events. Two events are coming up where we hope to table and could use your help. Please volunteer for a shift on Saturday, June 18 at the Best of Clinton County in downtown Lock Haven or on July 14, 15, or 16 during the Arts Fest in State College. Our tent for the Arts Fest will be at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on S. Fraser St. You can sign up through this Signup Genius page for as many shifts as you like. A thank you goes to Helen Kenion for creating the signup. If you have questions, write to Diane Mills at email@example.com
Dan Alters and Dorothy Blair at the CCL tent at Arts Fest
in 2019 on the lawn of St. Andrew’s.
PA Climate Convergence
Climate activists from throughout Pennsylvania will be converging on Harrisburg for three days of activities on June 11-13. Here is the website.
The Harrisburg chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby will be tabling at this event on Saturday and would welcome any CCL volunteers from around the state to join them. If you are interested in doing so, contact Rachel Mark of the Harrisburg chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sierra Club is sponsoring a bus from State College for the rally and march taking place on Sunday afternoon. Round-trip tickets cost $45. The bus will leave from the Giant parking lot on North Atherton at 7:30 am on Sunday. For more information and to reserve a seat, go to this MeetUp page or write to Ellen Foreman at email@example.com
Jon Clark toured Tennessee and Kentucky
Many of you have met Jon Clark during our zoom monthly meetings. He is the coordinator for CCL’s Appalachian Region. In April, he took a highly successful tour to visit CCL volunteers in Tennessee and Kentucky, during which he was able to garner some welcome media attention. This article describes his trip and may give you some ideas for things we can do here in Pennsylvania as well.
Legislative Monitor Needed
Several measures pending in the Pennsylvania legislature will have an impact on the ability of our local communities to act responsibly on climate. In some parts of the country, local governments are prohibiting the installation of fossil fuel heat in new construction. Two bills in the PA legislature (Senate Bill 275 and House Bill 1947) would deny our local governments the authority to make such a prohibition. Two bipartisan bills (Senate Bill 826 and House Bill 1996) seek to solve the issue that covenants in some homeowners associations now prohibit solar installations. These bills would guarantee homeowners the right to install solar on their properties.
Our chapter seeks a volunteer to monitor these bills and similar legislation in the state legislature to give us reports on what is happening and to suggest steps we might take to influence the legislation. If this is a task that you would enjoy doing, please write to PAStateCollege@citizensclimatelobby.org so that we can discuss it with you further.
If you are interested in learning more about climate action at the state level, check out an organization called Climate-XChange. They recently presented a webinar on the subject of pre-emption, that is when a state prohibits municipalities from passing certain measures (such as the prohibition on fossil fuels mentioned above). Much of the emphasis of the webinar was on Pennsylvania. You can watch the recording or read the summary here.
CCL National News
Annual Conference – how to live stream
CCL will once again hold its national conference in Washington, DC on June 11-13. If you are unable to attend in person, you can still follow the conference via live stream. You can register for live stream on the main conference page.
It is crucial that we keep the pressure on Congress and the White House to take action on climate. Here is a handy link to a CCL site that makes it easy for you to communicate with our elected officials.
You can also sign up for our Monthly Calling Campaign. You will be assigned a specific day every month on which to call Congress. The idea here is to create a steady drumbeat of messages asking Congress to act on climate. This action is impactful and takes only a few minutes.
Climate Solutions Caucus is growing
Recently six new Members of Congress joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives. It now counts 84 members, evenly split between the two political parties. Meanwhile, the Climate Solutions Caucus in the Senate boasts 14 members.
Two important announcements from COG
The Centre Region Council of Governments, in collaboration with several partner organizations in our area, applied for a grant that would provide one million dollars to retrofit homes of low and moderate income families and to fund energy efficiency projects. In May they learned that they are one of eight finalists in the United States. You can read more about this exciting news in this article in the Centre Daily Times.
The Centre Region Climate Action and Adaptation Plan has now moved into the implementation stage. Pam Adams, Sustainability Planner for the Centre Region Council of Governments, has announced the membership of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that will be consulting and offering recommendations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our community. We are happy to report that CCL member Lisa Richardson will be a part of this group. Thank you, Lisa, for taking on this important work. Click here for a full list of the members.
ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
Two news items and a book review
Scientist Who Ran on Climate Change Platform Elected to Penn State’s Board of Trustees
Report by Dick Jones
Christa Hasenkopf, an atmospheric scientist who ran on a platform of encouraging Penn State to help in the fight against climate change, was elected in May to the university’s board of trustees.
A 2003 graduate of Penn State’s Eberly College of Science, Hasenkopf is co-founder of OpenAQ, an environmental nonprofit that houses the world’s largest open air quality database in the world. She is also the founder of Airglow Labs which builds global support for clean air action.
Nine of Penn State’s 38 trustees are elected by the university’s alumni for three-year terms. Three alumni trustees are selected each year. Hasenkopf won the third-most votes in this year’s election field of eight candidates to earn her seat.
She was the lone winner among three candidates who ran their campaign as a team under the banner “Penn State Forward” which included a stand on climate change.
The Penn State Forward candidates said they want Penn State to:
1. Support the creation of sustainability learning outcomes and a solar energy engineering major to ensure students remain competitive in a changing job market.
2. Achieve a carbon-neutral Penn State by 2035 by supporting the recommendations of Penn State’s Carbon Reduction Task Force.
3. Divest from fossil fuels and develop transparent and robust socially responsible investment practices.
4. Collaborate with Pennsylvania’s state-related schools to invest in additional renewable energy projects and jobs in Pennsylvania.
Dept. of Commerce inquiry impacts solar installations
The solar industry right now is in disarray. Over the years tariffs have been put on solar panels coming into the US from China to protect the domestic American solar panel industry. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Chinese manufacturers make around 63% of the Polysilicon used in most solar panels globally and more than 2/3 of the wafers that are the next step in the manufacturing process.” China has apparently responded to US tariffs by sending such components of solar panels to other Asian countries where the finished panels could be manufactured. American solar companies complained that this was an effort to avoid the tariffs and was illegal.
In March of this year, a small solar power company in California called Auxin, went further, filing a formal complaint with the Department of Commerce. This is now holding up much of solar installation in the US. How can you bid on a project if it may turn out that the cost of the panels is going to go way up because of tariffs that may be imposed? 22 Senators have protested to the Dept. of Commerce, but the inquiry is still continuing. Most solar jobs are in installation, not in manufacturing. 80% of the panels used in the US come from Southeast Asia. And the tariffs are hefty. One company said that their projects can exceed $300 million dollars, so a 50-250% tariff would impose between $75-$375 million in additional costs.
Further articles on this subject from Canary Media, from PV Magazine, and from the Wall Street Journal.
Mark Neely reviews Climate Leviathan
Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann, Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future (London: Verso, 2018). 207pp.
This book stands to the left of Naomi Klein’s now famous work, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate. She argued that capitalism was the cause of climate change and must be radically reformed to deal with the problem. For Wainwright and Mann, capitalism is “incapable of addressing it.” Reform is not enough. It will take something bigger, the creation of an amorphous and perhaps dangerous “Leviathan,” to meet the challenge.
The authors do not rely on great quantities of empirical evidence as much as on political theory to make their points. Readers will deal with Thomas Hobbes (hence, their book’s title), Hegel, and Kant, as well as a bevy of leftists: Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Teodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer. Strangely, one Fascist political theorist, Carl Schmitt, takes considerable prominence in the book. Ultimately, Wainwright and Mann come to a vital conclusion, too little considered in ordinary writing on climate change, the necessity of some form of world government. It requires what they term “planetary sovereignty.” They themselves admit they have no detailed programmatic solution to creating an institution with that power.
Among the few who have addressed the all-important international question, William Nordhaus stands out. He argues in his recent book, The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World, for forming a compact or “club” of nations, including all the major emitters of CO2. They would agree on a world price for carbon and use tariffs to coerce nations that do not at first sign the compact. Nordhaus thus offers a much more capitalistic solution, and perhaps the exclusive sound of the term “club” would be especially off-putting for people like Wainwright and Mann. But looked at from left or right, the problem of a world approach to climate change demands far more consideration than it is getting now.
When was the last time your CCL meeting discussed other parts of the world, India, for example? Perhaps we should reserve space on each meeting agenda to learn about climate change challenges in some different part of the world and begin to examine the question of planetary sovereignty.
|If you have ideas, comments, or just want to talk about climate, please feel free to contact Sylvia Neely (PaStateCollege@citizensclimatelobby.org) or Lisa Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would love to hear from you.|