A new group of volunteers has joined forces in the East Mesa to support climate change solutions.
The Far East Valley Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization whose goal is to change national policies and address climate change, organizer Sandy Whitley said.
Her group joins 400 other local chapters of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby across the country.
Its main goal is to press Congress to approve a bill to reduce emissions in the country by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years.
Whitley found her passion for climate change while hiking Picacho Peak and noticing the brown fog resting above the city.
“I realized my grandchildren are the next generation and I needed to find out what is in the air they are breathing,” she said.
Whitley is also a retired nurse who has seen first-hand how pollution affects health.
“Once I found out what was actually in the air, that’s when I knew conditions such as asthma are majorly affected and even worsened,” said Whitley.
“I found Citizens’ Climate Lobby at a presentation at the Desert Botanical Gardens, and I gravitated towards the table set up because they were not just talking about climate change, they had a solution they were working on to try to reduce carbon in our atmosphere,” she said.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or H.R. 763, would impose a $15-per-ton fee on fossil fuels extracted from the earth.
Whitley believes it will motivate companies, industries and consumers to purchase cleaner and cheaper options for their fuel.
The fee revenue would not only cover any program costs but also would be shared with citizens as an incentive to reduce their carbon footprint.
She conceded there is a concern from foreign competition if American companies have to pay the fee while countries exporting products to the U.S. don’t have a similar carbon tax in their home country/
“This could possibly lead to reduced American business,” said Whitley.
However, she contends American companies would receive a rebate for products they sell to such countries.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is cosponsored by 75 House members and is co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida and Republican Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida.
“This carbon pricing bill has more co-sponsors than any carbon pricing bill in our country’s history, and it’s been bipartisan right from the start,” said Flannery Winchester, spokesman for Citizen’s Climate Lobby.
The group has found success in the creating an effective solution, improving the health for citizens, and boosting the economy by possibly providing 2.1 million new jobs, said Whitley.
“We actively are looking for events to attend to present and to inform the public of our new chapter in the far East Valley,” she said.
Though the East Valley chapter is small, “we are always looking to expand their group,” said Whitley.
Winchester added, “We continue to grow by tens of thousands of supporters every year, so as we move forward, we will continue to expand our resources to train and support those volunteers to put pressure on Congress.”