Posted by Wes Baumann
There were 28 members in attendance at this week’s meeting.  We had two guests:  Mary Hanson, a retired special education administrator and a Citizens Climate Lobby member was the guest of Ned Meissner, and Scott Birkenstein, Erik’s son.  Past-president Tom Nash presided over the meeting in the absence of Bill Leske.  Tom announced that it was Randy Reeves birthday this week and that Sam Badger was celebrating his 5th year of membership in our club.
Joe Nash informed the club that he had, along with Todd Stevens and Rich Lalley, organized a benefit concert for Operation Warm on the evening of October 5 at the Kenilworth Club.  Tom is looking for $500 sponsors for the event.  There will be dinner, dancing and a cash bar in addition to both a silent and a live auction as well as a raffle and games of skill.  The evening will feature classic rock and blues music.  A great time for all is in store.  Mark your calendar for October 5!!!
Ned Meissner announced that he will be spending the month of October working on the Ecuador Farm Project that he presented a program about a few weeks ago.  He invited members to consider joining him for the last week to spend a few days on the farm and several days touring the country.  See Ned if you have any interest.
This week’s Happy Buck$ came from Erik Birkenstein in honor of his son who recently caught a 4 lb. bass and sunk a 30-foot putt to help Scott and his dad win a father-son golf tournament.  Also, from Maire Kuipers who celebrated her 3rd anniversary.  Keith Reed contributed $5 in honor of Wes Baumann who is ‘scribing’ his last meeting after approximately 5 years of service.  Tony threw in some Happy Buck$ for Marie’s recovery from her ankle injury.
Tony followed up with Dig ‘n Grin by acknowledging the opening of school with some education humor.  He read how elementary grade students complete the proverbs that the teacher started.
David Birkenstein introduced the day’s speaker, Mike Zarillo, a retired Information Technology executive who wanted to do something in retirement that made a difference for a non-profit organization.  He is now the Illinois State Coordinator for the Citizens Climate Lobby, which not only works to increase awareness to the climate problem but suggests a non-political solution.  Each year the group talks to nearly every federal legislator.  They try to understand where the legislators stand on the climate change issue and then offer suggestions on what can be done to help the situation.
Mike said that the climate has always been changing from the beginning of the universe.  However, the current rate of change is of great concern to the vast majority of scientists.  Carbon dioxide (CO2), which comprises about 0.04% of the atmosphere, plays a critical role.  The molecules permit the sun’s radiant energy to pass through to the earth, but they tend to hold the heat reflected off of the earth’s surface.   It is also the compound that is essential in photosynthesis.  The problem is that as CO2 increases, the greenhouse effect becomes amplified and temperatures begin to rise as less heats escapes into space.  Burning coal, oil and gas increases the amount of CO2  in the atmosphere thus contributing to the greenhouse effect.  There has been a  tremendous increased use of these fossil fuels, especially since 1950.  There had been 280 parts per million of CO2 for the past 10,000 years now we have over 400 ppm.  This is why we have global warming.
The average global temperature has risen 1.8ᵒ F since 1880.  The sea level has risen about eight inches in the last century.  Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat trapped by human-produced greenhouse gases, as the polar ice caps continue to melt the sea level will continue to rise.
Mike explained the climate change is not the end of cold weather or the end of winter or end of snow.  Climate changes is the slow, steady increase of average global temperature, more intense storms and extreme weather events, lengthening of summer and reduction of winter, more droughts and major rain events.  Also, more disruptions to farmers’ crops, changes in migration patterns and a dramatic increase in record temperatures, both high and low.  These changes cannot be attributed to the sun as it is cooling slightly and it can’t be changes in the earth’s orbit as we would be getting cooler.
Today 97% of the scientists are convinced, based on the evidence, that climate change is a serious problem.  Unfortunately, only one in eight Americans are aware of this climate consensus.  If the current emission trends continue Illinois will be hotter in 2100 than Texas is today.  The Midwest may see losses similar to the Dustbowl of the 30s.
Mike stated the solutions to de-carbonize (and grow) the global economy exists and are affordable.  Wind, solar and hydro are the current answers.  So, if carbon is the problem, put a price (tax) on it.  Remember the price of a package of cigarettes 40-50 years ago and how many people smoked.  It got so expensive that it became easier to conquer this addiction.  Many countries have already or are considering a carbon tax.  This is a way to ‘help’ consumers make a decision that will be beneficial for all of mankind. 
Climate Change Lobby’s solution is a carbon fee and a dividend.  They suggest a fee on all fossil fuels at the source (mine, well or port).  All of the revenue generated would be returned to households equally.  They would also have a border adjustment on goods imported from or exported to countries without an equivalent price on carbon.  It would raise prices on goods that need carbon and make them more expensive.  Non-fossil products would become more competitive.  The CCL calculates that the carbon fee and dividend would produce a 31% reduction in carbon emissions in 10 years and a 50% reduction in 20 years.  They further project that the dividend each household would receive would be $288 per month in 10 years and $396 in 20 years.
There is a Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus composed of 43 Republicans and 43 Democrats that acknowledge climate risk and support economically viable solutions.  By depoliticizing the issue and making it safe and politically smart for legislators to tackle we would have a real chance to do something smart for the country.
Mike concluded with ways to get involved and help in this important matter.