img_5204

Feel free to use as much of this drafted communication as you would like, and customize to fit your needs and intended audience.

Dear _________,

Thank you for your service to our city/county/state/district/country. I’m reaching out to you regarding concerns I have regarding the disproportionate impact of climate change on some of my most vulnerable fellow constituents.

I’m requesting that you please do all you can to influence policy changes that help the U.S. contribute to reversing the shift in global or regional climate patterns. This includes our nation rejoining the 2015 Paris Agreement delineating emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.

As you’re likely aware, these climate changes have been occurring since the mid-to-late 20th Century onward, attributed largely to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. There’s not much upside to the acceleration of climate change. The earth is warming, seas are rising, disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires are increasing in frequency and power, and diseases are spreading faster as heat permits “spreaders” such as ticks to live longer.

The science behind climate change is clear, comprehensive, and consistent, and I’m encouraged that more and more of the American population seems to understand that–and are realizing how important it is to us to begin to slow it down.

Economic prosperity and technological advancements will matter little in a world that is increasingly facing ecological collapse. Climate change is already hitting poorer people the most, but it will eventually undermine everyone’s quality of life. How do you maintain an economy, run a company, and find available, skilled employees when natural disasters continue to wipe out infrastructure, health problems proliferate, and mass dislocation overwhelms the country with even more immigration challenges? Is this the world we not only will leave to our children and their children, but the one we’ll (thinking especially about Boomers and Xers here) have to cope with as elderly individuals?

These same individuals are, therefore, more at risk than the rest of the U.S. population to the destruction, disease, and increased poverty that follows severe weather and severe weather events caused by climate change.

To address these concerns, I’m requesting that you do all you can to sponsor, support, or influence legislation to accomplish the following in our state:

  • Establish ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All states that join the Alliance agree to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement — at least a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025 — but many are pushing reductions even further. California, for example, set a statewide target to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. New Mexico established a statewide goal of reducing GHG emissions by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Ramp up renewable energy. Clean energy is essential to reducing pollution and creating jobs — and states in the alliance are accelerating the green economy. Nevada passed a bill to increase the amount of electricity it gets from renewable sources to 50% by 2030. And in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced a new set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2050.
  • Push for better energy efficiency. Homes and commercial buildings account for 40% of total energy use in the U.S., which makes energy efficiency a crucial part of any state’s plan to mitigate climate change. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation that establishes a first-of-its-kind standard that will improve the energy performance of thousands of large commercial buildings across the state.
  • Accelerate policies for Zero Emission Vehicles. Alliance states lead the nation in reducing passenger vehicle emissions, the largest source of emissions in the transportation sector. In May 2019, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission unanimously voted to initiate a decision that would require auto manufacturers to make electric vehicles 5% of their vehicles for sale in Colorado by 2023. Hawaii’s legislature passed a bill that provides rebates to people who install a new electric vehicle charging system or upgrade an existing systems.
  • Reduce harmful air pollutants. Although pollution from carbon dioxide receives the most attention, short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), also pose key challenges to climate and health. In 2019, Virginia announced plans to limit methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure and landfills. Connecticut, Maryland, and New York plan to propose regulations in 2019 that will prohibit the use of harmful HFCs and backstop federal rollbacks; and Washington and Vermont recently passed similar legislation.
  • Create new financing opportunities for clean energy and resilient communities. In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation to authorize over $2.4 billion in investments for safeguarding residents, municipalities, and businesses from the impacts of climate change, as well as protecting environmental resources and improving recreational opportunities. And Colorado launched a new “Green Bank” that will leverage money from the private sector to spur investment in clean-energy projects.
  • Develop special tools and resources to help the state address climate change. To track their progress on climate action — and assess the risks from impacts — states need special tools and resources. In North Carolina, for example, Gov. Roy Cooper released the state Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which tracks and projects future emissions. The state also created a new Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency website to help North Carolina’s coastal communities manage challenges from climate impacts, such as rising sea levels.

Thank you for your time and consideration on these matters. Feel free to contact me if I can provide additional clarity on my requests.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your City and State

John M. DeMarco is a writer, executive coach, and activist based in Nashville, Tennessee.