Early last week, UMBS Director Knute Nadelhoffer made the journey from Pellston, MI to Washington, D.C. for the 9th annual Citizens’ Climate Lobby Conference and Lobby Day. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a non-partisan organization advocating for a revenue-neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend (CFD) solution for reducing, and eventually eliminating, the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change in the Great Lakes region and beyond. CCL has 480 chapters worldwide, including 16 active chapters in Michigan.
As it turned out, Nadelhoffer wasn’t the only UMBS affiliate to make the trip. To his pleasant surprise, he crossed paths with two former students, Deirdre Courtney and Cristina Shoffner.
Courtney was a UMBS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student in 2013 who returned in 2014 to complete her undergraduate honors thesis research under Dr. Dave Karowe. She is now starting a PhD program at Western Michigan University, with Karowe chairing her dissertation committee. Shoffner, a former University of Michigan UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities) student in Nadelhoffer’s lab, studied soil organic matter and root biomass changes following experimental burns in 2012-13. Both women are now putting their environmental science educations to work in the public sphere—Courtney as a member of the Kalamazoo CCL chapter, and Shoffner as a Legislative Aide in Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) office.
At the Conference and Lobby Day, Nadelhoffer, Courtney, Shoffner and over 1400 CCL members met with Members of Congress to discuss their support for Carbon Fee and Dividend and ask them to consider joining the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus. Nadelhoffer and Ann Arbor CCL chapter members sat down with Senator Stabenow and staffers from Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s (D-MI 12th) office. Members of other Michigan CCL chapters met with Michigan representatives from their districts, including Courtney and the Kalamazoo chapter.
“In my opinion, CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend plan, which places a price on carbon-based fuels and returns revenue directly to Americans and their families, creates incentives to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources,” said Nadelhoffer. “It was inspiring to work with former UMBS students, and others from across the country to press forward with this important, science- and market-based effort to address climate change.”