We are hearing lots of conflicting statements on the status of a comprehensive climate bill. Depending on who you read or listen to, it's either still a viable, passable solution in the Senate or it's dead in the water. It's easy to see why some people might have written off a comprehensive climate bill: the quagmire of the U.N. talks at Copenhagen and the delays in the Senate to combine legislation since September could lead one to believe that legislators really aren't concerned with a bill this year.
To those comments, we look at the continually growing movement of legislators, organizations, groups, and everyday Americans who picked up the mantle in January and continued the push for a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill in 2010. They were building off a year where the EPA moved forward on Supreme Court mandated greenhouse gas regulation, a comprehensive climate and energy bill passed in the House, and our president actually attended international climate change negotiations. This movement knows we still have momentum, despite what climate and clean energy deniers say about these milestones.
Starting today through Thursday, March 4, dozens of environmental, faith, student, veteran, and labor organizations – representing millions of supporters – are taking part in the "72 Hours for Clean American Power" campaign. It is an unprecedented attempt by climate and environmental groups to band a number of different issue groups together for a call-in mobilization on Senate offices.
The demands are simple: keep the Clean Air Act strong and pass a comprehensive clean energy bill providing us with the opportunity to truly reform our energy and economic needs for a better future. Thousands have already signed up nationwide, expanding the voice of the movement for real legislation this year.
A call-in campaign seems daunting: you're asking people to take time out of their busy days to go to a website or call a number and speak with their senator's staff to make a case for legislation that isn't finalized. But strong, bold, forward-thinking legislation doesn't get created in a vacuum – public support is crucial to getting the ball rolling with our leaders and every single call matters.
1Sky held a call-in day in January to voice support for keeping the Clean Air Act from being dismantled by Senator Lisa Murkowski's resolution that would strip its authority to regulate greenhouse gases. We also asked our supporters to continue the push for a clean energy and climate bill. Climate action supporters registered more than 3,600 calls on a cold January day, helping set the table for discussions on the Clean Air Act and the bill.
Here's what a few callers reported during that campaign:
Jennifer in NC calling Sen. Kay Hagan: She didn't have a public position statement on (the leading climate bill), but assured me Hagan believes in global warming and believes something must be done; (she) stated that Hagan believes green jobs are a path forward and will be a champion here.
Richard in VA calling Sen. Mark Warner: Does not have a position on climate change legislation or Murkowski amendment. I told the staffer that Sen. Warner should show the same leadership in the Senate in this issue that he did as Governor of Virginia.
David in NY calling Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "Their office said they were getting a lot of calls about the is issue."
Douglas in MI calling Sen. Debbie Stabenow: "Had a nice conversation. She supports green jobs, mom and apple pie. I felt like I got listened to a bit more after mentioning walking in a parade with Debbie and the fact that I admire her as a person."
Irene in FL calling Sen. George LeMeiux: "I said I know the Senator is a Republican, but he has small children and I hope he thinks of them and votes against Murkowski's resolution."
What will happen now when these voices are amplified by dozens of other groups and thousands of other voices? It will strengthen the movement and continue the push 1Sky started with our friends, allies, and supporters two years ago. Our leaders will hear the collective call: pass a strong climate bill this year.
Follow Gillian Caldwell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GBCaldwell