Advocacy: National Legislation
In the spirit of Laudato Si’, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a welcoming statement for bi-partisan introduced legislation called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA). The Archdiocese of Chicago also supports this legislation.
The legislation, which also has been referred to as HR 2307, entails the following:
- Would place an annually increasing “fee” on fossil fuel producers for the climate damaging carbon emissions of their oil, natural gas and coal products.
- The “fee” would be returned to every American household in the form of a monthly “dividend” check.
- Would encourage the switch to cheaper renewable energy, without financially harming poor and middle-class citizens and without hurting job or economic growth.
- Would enable the US to meet climate targets spelled out in the Paris Agreement.
- Has border adjustment language to keep America internationally competitive with nations that haven’t enacted a carbon fee.
Reputable organizations including Catholic Climate Covenant, the non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and various diocesan social justice groups have been advocating for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
The EICDA legislation:
- Seeks to reduce national carbon pollution emissions over 90% by 2050.
- Is a cost-effective way to address the root cause of climate change: growing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.
- Addresses what Pope Francis calls a social justice issue - the poor and future generations are harmed most by climate change.
Use these tools to educate and encourage parishioners:
- Writing legislators at this link.
- Forming a Creation Care Team at your parish and sponsor spiritual and educational events (e.g., showing movies, inviting speakers).
- Joining with groups of fellow parishioners/ constituents to lobby US legislators.
- Signing up here to receive action alerts.
- Speaking to other parishioners, friends and family about supporting the climate legislation
Lobbying is often thought to be the single most powerful tool to get action taken in government. Your representatives value hearing about the recommendations and needs of their constituents. Consider joining small groups of fellow constituents to meet with your US Representative in person or online to help get movement on legislation. Some ways to consider doing this include:
- Attend a town hall with your US Representative where constituents can ask questions or provide input.
- Connect with groups that are lobbying Congress on Church-supported legislation or for more information, contact Dr. Angela L. Swain at [email protected].
What to expect?
You do not need any previous experience. For lobbying Representatives and Senators, organizations involved in those efforts will set up the meetings and schedule Zoom pre-meetings with you and others in your district to coach you on what to say, the best way to say it, provide additional information on legislation, as well as answer any questions you have. They will also provide a lobby day team leader to be with you.
What to tell your US Congressional legislators (or other parishioners)
- “As a Catholic I wanted to share my concern that: climate change is adding significantly to the burdens borne by our poorest brothers and sisters at home and abroad.”
- “Pending bi-partisan legislation called The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will help reduce fossil fuel usage, encourage renewable energy growth and reduce emissions driving climate change.”
- “Please support this legislation and act to effectively address climate change.”