Action Requested Today and How to Join the Texas State Lobby Team

We had an outstanding lobby day at the Texas State Capitol two weeks ago. Please help us leverage that momentum to pass good bills and stop bad bills (or at least make them less bad), and for the next month and a half.

We ask you to:

  • Sign up to receive weekly Action Alerts, the week’s most important action to the Texas Legislature selected by our Citizens’ Climate Lobby Texas State Lobby Team (click on the link to reach the team webpage on the national website).
  • Take action this week (today) on HB 2502 on building energy efficiency.

Once you join the Texas State Lobby Team, you will receive an alert to take the most important action each week. The action alert will require little time and allows you to be fully effective. It will include a link to an Action Alert we write or one written by a partner organization. It will have instructions with a sample email for you to slightly customize.

Submit Written Online Comments to Support HB 2502 Today!

HB 2502 would establish a program to issue or guarantee loans for energy audits, upgrades, or retrofits to increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings and residences. It would include requirements for emissions reduction cost-effectiveness criteria and utilize funds available from the U.S. Department of Energy and private capital or state resources. The comments should be sent by midnight today, April 12. Apologies for the late notice and for an extra email if you’ve already taken this action. To easily take this action, follow this link.

In addition, please ask other CCL volunteers across Texas to join the Texas State Lobby Team public group on the national community website, so that they can receive future Action Alerts for outreach to state legislators.

Thank you to Larry Howe and team for leading this effort.

Bob Hendricks
Texas State Lobby Team Co-Coordinator

Click on the photograph to reach LegisScan for the text of HB2502.

Texas Lobby Day March 28, 2023

Enthusiastic, committed and hardworking volunteers of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) from across Texas held 66 meetings with 47 Republican representatives and 19 Democratic representatives. They also left behind educational information at 116 other offices at the Texas State Capitol.

Texas is a leader in generating solar and wind power. But due to inadequate transmission lines, generated renewable power is wasted. In 2022, power worth 2.9 billion dollars was wasted.

Our Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers conveyed a primary message to representatives to take action improve the transmission lines that will generate jobs, make our grid more resilient, save money for rate payers, reduce emissions and therefore improve the environment.

You can reach out to your representatives and ask them to take action, too! Thanks again to our amazing volunteers and to our elected representatives. We deeply appreciate your taking the time to visit with us.

Additional Information

This post was generated by Kalpana Sutaria and Carolyn M. Appleton on behalf of Citizen’s Climate Lobby Austin Metro Chapter.

Opinion: Republican-controlled House Blows the Doors Open for Conservative Climate Action | March 28 and 29, 2023

With many years of hands-on work experience with nonprofit organizations focused on protecting the environment – many of those groups having influential conservative backers – I know there is conservative interest in protecting our shared natural resources. The way conservatives choose to accomplish that goal differs from some of our more progressive advocates for environmental protection, however.

Without an alternative approach to environmental policy, conservatives can feel boxed in, forced to claim environmental problems either are a “hoax” or not as serious as environmentalists claim. This is, indeed, sometimes the case. But where there is real pollution or other problems of environmental degradation, the standard conservative line of defense is untenable. Lacking effective policy alternatives, each fight over environmental issues that conservatives lose necessarily means more government expansion. For those who believe in the American ideals of freedom and free enterprise, the path ahead is one of slow but inevitable retreat.

A conservative approach to environmental principles, R Street Institute

Citizens’ Climate Lobby understands this well.

How is the fight against climate change conservative? Through policies that avoid big government overreach, CCL advocates for legislation that spurs the economy, makes the country economically competitive, aids the military, provides resources to agriculture, and preserves the great American outdoors.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Citizen’s Climate Lobby supporters are organized into local chapters like ours, and each chapter works with their members of Congress to enact climate change solutions. Conservative CCL supporters hail from all over the country and from different religious backgrounds, but all share Conservative principles. If you are so-inclined, you might consider joining the CCL national Conservative Caucus Action Team, and attend its online meetings!

And consider attending the March 28 and 29, 2023 conference in Washington, D.C., which is focused specifically on conservative solutions to alleviate the negative effects of climate change.

Be in the room where conservative climate action happens. Come to the Conservative Climate Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. (yes, in person), to connect with right-leaning CCLers, eco-right orgs, and members of Congress to discuss solutions that address climate, the economy, and U.S. competitiveness. You’ll become an expert on the conservative merits of CCL’s policy agenda and be ready to talk to House Representatives and Senators on day two, our lobby day on the Hill. This conference is designed for politically right-leaning attendees.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Carolyn M. Appleton

Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Opinion: World Economic Forum Helps Our World Move Forward

I was inspired by watching a few of this year’s World Economic Forum proceedings online. I believe those involved are charting a positive course forward for the world at a high level, contrary to some public figures who have recently decried its usefulness.

As noted in Wikipedia,

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab. The foundation, which is mostly funded by its 1,000 member companies – typically global enterprises with more than US$5 billion in turnover – as well as public subsidies, views its own mission as “improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

Such a safe meeting format does need to exist for productive dialogue to occur amongst industrial, political, and social leaders. To make true change sink deeply into corporate and governmental systems, lighting cars on fire, throwing soup on priceless paintings, and smashing small business storefronts will not create a deep and lasting positive impact. But it will certainly scare everyone, at all levels of society. A quiet and secure environment for meaningful dialogue among those who can have significant impact on global systems – particularly those related to climate change – makes perfect sense.

I believe peaceful protest is a human right. “Nonviolent resistance has been shown empirically to be twice as effective as armed struggle in achieving major political goals,” notes the United States Institute of Peace. Yes, let us continue to protest, but peacefully. And I think we need to let go of the idea that everyone can participate in high level meetings like those of the World Economic Forum. WEF has made video recordings of its meetings available for remote viewers, and it publishes information about its accomplishments online routinely. Social media allows every human being with access to it, the opportunity to share opinions online. Let us all continue to share our opinions and concerns in this way, respectfully.

As the third Monday of January is celebrated as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share MLK’s approach to nonviolence.

King did not experience the power of nonviolent direct action first-hand until the start of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. During the boycott, King personally enacted Gandhian principles. With guidance from black pacifist Bayard Rustin and Glenn Smiley of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, King eventually decided not to use armed bodyguards despite threats on his life, and reacted to violent experiences, such as the bombing of his home, with compassion. Through the practical experience of leading nonviolent protest, King came to understand how nonviolence could become a way of life, applicable to all situations. King called the principle of nonviolent resistance the “guiding light of our movement. Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method” (Papers 5:423).

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Center at Stanford

Returning to Austin as I conclude, I was delighted to learn during this year’s WEF meetings, “World Economic Forum Launches the Centre for Trustworthy Technology.” The new Centre in Austin will “promote responsible production and use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality and quantum computing.” People everywhere are rightly concerned about how their data is used. “Societal trust in and acceptance of technology is dependent on the technologies in question being designed in an inclusive, ethical and responsible manner.” What better place to establish the new Centre than Austin, Texas!

Carolyn M. Appleton

Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Photograph of the Kings is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Opinion: Texas leaders determined to stop progress on measures to reduce air pollution

Re: January 13 2023, Texas Tribune article, “EPA Moves away from Permian Basin air pollution crackdown”.

Texas leaders are determined to stop progress on measures to reduce air pollution by oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin no matter what it does to Texans’ health. Oil and gas companies have wielded their power for many years and continue to do that. the Biden administration is trying to lower oil prices after oil shortages around the world after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Oil companies have pressurized Texas leaders enough for the EPA to back down from air pollution crackdown.

We need policies that can reduce our dependence on oil and gas and encourage clean energy research and development. Ask your members of Congress to enact laws to transition away from pollution causing energy sources to clean energy that would lower ozone levels and improve air quality. I suffer from pollution regularly.

We want leaders who would work for their constituents’ health and well- being.

Kalpana Sutaria

Project Manager, City of Austin and Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Submitted to the Austin American-Statesman

January 2023

LTE Under Consideration: Austin’s Ozone Action Days

Re: October 15, 22 Article, “City sees record 25 Ozone Action Days”

People suffering from pollen allergies as I do, have an instant physiological effect when ground level ozone increases along with pollens from ragweed, grass, mold, trees and other pollutants. Sneezing, headaches, post nasal drainage and general sense of tiredness are the symptoms that I suffer from even after staying indoors.

It is alarming to have 25 “Ozone Action Days” in just 2022 which tops the combined total for past 8 years. Clearly, Austinites have to pay attention to the Ozone Action Days by taking measures like reduction in use of gasoline powered vehicles, equipment and manufacturing for the short term.

For the long term, we need to transition away from fossil fuels and polluting emissions and invest in clean energy sources. There are incentives in bills passed this year including the Inflation Reduction, Infrastructure and the CHIPs Acts. Continuing on the path will improve our health and quality of life.

Kalpana Sutaria

Project Manager, City of Austin and Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Submitted to the Austin American-Statesman

December 2022

A milestone on the road to replace all U.S. fossil fuel power generation

Re: May 3 article, “Texas renewables generate record power in early 2022.”

Renewables generated more power so far this year in Texas than gas-powered turbines, or any other power source? What excellent news! It comes along about the same time it was reported that on May 4 for a short duration starting at 2:50 p.m., 99.87% of California’s entire power load was provided by renewables. 

We still have a very long journey to replacing all U.S. fossil fuel power generation with renewables, but we have certainly put to rest the notion that we can’t achieve this goal quickly, which is essential if we are to halt earth’s warming. Just imagine what we can achieve once we actually make an effort – like, for example, by instituting a carbon fee and dividend policy. Carbon fee and dividend not only will accelerate the conversion to renewables, but will result in a net return of money to a significant majority of U.S. households.  

Mark Warren, Austin

Austin American-Statesman

May 14, 2022

Remarks exemplify why we’re not able to address the climate crisis

Re: Feb. 12 letter to the editor, ‘Liberals’ goal of implementing deal would drive up energy costs’

The chairman of the Railroad Commission exemplifies why we are not able to address the climate crisis. He needs to listen to what Texans want:

  • Climate change is not a liberal or conservative issue; it is a major crisis for humanity.
  • Republicans and Democrats who look at scientific facts without a bias realize that harmful emissions from coal, oil and gas are warming the planet.
  • A majority of Texans want sustainable energy path that would not harm our state or the U.S. and that would reduce intensity of extreme weather events.
  • Texas has shown leadership in renewable energy production and can continue to maintain that without sacrificing health and well-being of people if investments in clean energy were accelerated
  • We need to stabilize the climate, which is not possible with current policies.

Kalpana Sutaria

Austin American-Statesman

February 16, 2022

Bill puts price on polluting and returns the revenue

One of our six local members of the U.S. Congress, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, deserves a huge thank you for agreeing to co-sponsor House Bill 2307, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the U.S. Congress.

This bill would put a price on polluting and return the revenue to American households, accomplishing two good things at once: curbing carbon emissions and putting more money in our wallets.

Thank you, Rep. Doggett! I hope we will now see one of the other five join in as well. What do you say, Reps. McCaul, Williams, Roy, Carter and Sessions?

Anna Graybeal

Austin American-Statesman

July 6, 2021

LTE Under Consideration: H.C.R. No. 22

The 87th Legislature of the State of Texas has a great opportunity to sponsor the proposed H.C.R. No. 22 – the Texas Environmental and Economic Stewardship Resolution. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while diversifying the economy supported by technological innovation and bipartisan collaboration.

It is not unknown to the Legislature that climate is changing and is having adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of Texans. But we can’t rely on oil and gas as energy sources alone especially when it is contributing negatively to the health of Texans. Texas leads the nation in wind energy but we need more zero emissions sources like solar, geothermal, and nuclear.

The State of Texas has innovators, scientists, engineers and environmentalists who can provide expertise on energy sources and its impact on the changing climate. Texas House has already formed a Caucus on Climate and Environment and the Energy Industry, a perfect place to start thoughtful discussions on energy sources and transition opportunities to the 21st century low-carbon economy. The Legislature has a choice to grab this opportunity for the people they serve.

Richard “Larry” Howe

February 13, 2021