WINCHESTER — A local chapter of an international grassroots organization fighting climate change is forming in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

An informational meeting will be held via Zoom on May 23 for anyone in the area who would like to become a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Attending the virtual meeting doesn’t commit anyone to membership, but it will give everyone a chance to find out more about Citizens’ Climate Lobby, said Ed Jaffee of Frederick County.

Founded in 2007, Citizens’ Climate Lobby advocates for bipartisan solutions to climate change. It has more than 180,000 volunteers with nearly 600 chapters worldwide.

The group trains volunteers to build relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy.

The local chapter already has several people — liberals and conservatives — signed up, Jaffee said.

Members will be asked to write letters and send emails to their elected officials and to editorial boards of local newspapers. They may also be invited to visit local legislators on Capitol Hill, Jaffee said.

At this time, Citizens’ Climate Lobby is particularly focused on the passage of H.R. 763, or the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which places a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

The fee starts out low and grows over time with the intent of driving down pollution because the energy industry and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options, according to information from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website citizensclimatelobby.org

The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated every month to the American public. The government doesn’t keep any of the money from the carbon fee.

The bill has 82 co-sponsors, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

“It’s orchestrated to be a win-win,” said Jaffee, who has been concerned about climate change since at least 1989. “We are pushing hard on this.”

In September, representatives with Citizens’ Climate Lobby co-hosted a local screening of “Tidewater,” a documentary about the dangerous rising sea levels in southeastern Virginia.

That’s where Jaffee found out about Citizens’ Climate Lobby — and where he was drafted to recruit new members.

Anyone interested can call Jaffee at 540-431-5957 to find out the time and other details of the online meeting.

— Contact Robyn Taylor at rtaylor@winchesterstar.com

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