Community News

Winner Spotlight: Citizens' Climate Lobby


Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s (CCL) proposal in the 2014 U.S. Carbon Price contest, The Little Engine That Could: Carbon Fee and Dividend, brought the group great attention and support, leading them to be one of Climate CoLab’s Popular Choice Winners. The proposal suggests a rising fee on GHG emissions, with full dividend and border adjustments, and argues that adopting this framework would position the US to lead a global response to climate change.

Lead contributors to the proposal include Gary Horvitz, Peter Joseph and Joseph Robertson.  Here’s more from Gary about the team and proposal:

2014 Popular Choice Winners, Gary Horvitz, Peter Joseph, and Joseph Robertson of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

What inspired you to submit a proposal to the Climate CoLab?

We felt that it’s time for everyone concerned about global warming to focus some or all of their energies on a single remedy, one that could work, and without which nothing else will. The Climate CoLab offered the stage which allowed us to present our case in a new venue, bringing fresh insight on carbon pricing into wider circles. The contest provided a great educational experience for all of us, and an opportunity to articulate and clarify CCL’s message — using the vehicle of the Climate CoLab and the brainpower it would attract.

In our project, we propose an initial fee of $15 per ton on the CO2 content of fossil fuels, escalating $10 per ton per year, imposed upstream at their point of extraction and collected upon entry into the economy¹.  All revenues, and less administrative costs, are rebated to U.S. households in the form of monthly dividends.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been around for 5 years and is growing fast. The Climate CoLab presented an opportunity to move our message. The principle authors are neither economists, nor scientists nor policy makers, but are a retired physical therapist, a retired emergency physician, a chemist and a humanities professor. One of us heard about the contest in March and entered it immediately, then recruited the other team members. The effect of being involved in the CoLab has been to have nearly every assumption we brought to the process challenged by either fellow members, judges or, as we progressed, ourselves.

For all of us, the best “thing” emerging out of this experience was the friendships we created by collaborating. Articulating our ideas has been a very positive process. Doing so publicly with the CoLab community was particularly challenging. Defining a viable idea and engineering a strategy to win “The Carbon War” has forced us to communicate our ideas effectively. This has gained public attention both in the US and the rest of the globe, and now CCL chapters are popping up all over the US, Canada and all the other continents with the same simple message. 

Our best outcome would be for other groups from all sectors to focus some of their efforts on promoting our legislative proposal. You can see our emissions reduction graph here.

“It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survive; it is the one most adaptable to change.”–Charles Darwin.

Check out the winning proposal here!

¹The tax amount is imposed at the point of the fuel’s extraction from the Earth, and the tax is collected when the fuel is firstsold.

See other Spotlights of Climate CoLab winners, Fellows and Advisors here: