Weekly Briefing: New Study Confirms BIG WIRES Would Make A Big Impact
February 7, 2024
Since the BIG WIRES Act was introduced last year, CCL has been behind it as a great next step in the push for clean energy permitting reform. A new paper out this week from the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research reveals exactly how great these policy changes really would be.
On the low end, the paper estimates that “BIG WIRES would save $330 million per year due to the lower energy costs associated with being able to deploy more solar and wind energy,” CCL Research Coordinator Dana Nuccitelli explains in a CCL Community post. If America steps up and makes a serious effort to deploy clean energy, the potential savings are even greater — $2.5 billion per year!
And when it comes to carbon pollution, the results are just as encouraging. “The paper estimates that BIG WIRES would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 73 million metric tons of CO2 per year compared to the status quo. That's a 5.5% reduction in our emissions,” Dana explains.
The study also confirms that the BIG WIRES Act would reduce power outages during extreme weather. Using models of Winter Storm Elliott in 2022, the authors “found that BIG WIRES would have reduced the number of homes that lost power in this storm from 4.7 million to 2.1 million – a 58% reduction in blackouts.”
Passing this legislation, Dana says, would be “an impressive win-win-win scenario!”
See Dana’s post about the study, and if you want to dive deeper, plan to attend Dana’s Feb. 29 training where he will walk through all the findings.Attend Dana's Deep Dive
In other news this week:
• CCL hits the front page: The Houston Chronicle, which reaches 825k readers with its print edition each weekday, featured a front page article about the PROVE IT Act! CCL VP of Government Affairs Ben Pendergrass said in the piece, “Domestic emissions are important, but this is a global problem, and we need to think about emissions globally, in particular major emitters like China and India.”
• Snowmen take to the streets: With fun, eye-catching “snowman protests” in recent weeks, CCL chapters have been helping our frosty friends call for climate action. See our snowmen across Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and beyond.
• Meet Aliyah and Helena: Aliyah Bell and Helena Robinson work together in the sustainability department of Xavier University of Louisiana. They’re also a dream team in CCL’s New Orleans chapter, and they were instrumental in planning the Third Coast Regional Conference last fall. Meet Aliyah and Helena in their volunteer spotlight blog posts.
Take action this week
If you have a little time: Write to Congress to protect forestry funding. In 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act allocated $20 billion to climate-smart forestry. That’s great, because trees are nature's vacuum cleaner, pulling the equivalent of 12% of America’s carbon pollution out of the air every year! A new Farm Bill could lock in this funding, but early negotiations show these funds may be at risk. Send a quick email to your members of Congress asking them to protect climate-smart forestry funding in the Farm Bill.
If you have more time: Attend CCL’s February meeting this weekend. This Saturday, CCL chapters, volunteers, and staff will gather on Zoom for our monthly meeting. We’ll hear from guest speaker Sam Daley-Harris, author of “Reclaiming Our Democracy,” about the incredible power of citizen advocacy work. CCL staffer and meeting host Steffanie Munguía will also celebrate recent successes and share upcoming actions you can take this month. Plan to join us on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT.
Featured chapter: CCL Naperville
The Greater Naperville Area CCL chapter has been around since 2017 and is the second largest chapter in Illinois, drawing members from about 20 surrounding suburbs. “Our focus in 2024 will be election engagement and building electrification and efficiency,” says Karen Campbell, who co-leads the chapter with Scott Buckley.
The chapter kicked off their election work in a big way on Saturday, Jan. 27, with a postcarding party! Twenty-four Greater Naperville Area chapter members and guests, alongside seven Green Team members from a local church, wrote an impressive 500 postcards for mailing to environmental voters in North Carolina. “Our diligent postcard writers enjoyed pizza and each other's company, along with the chance to make a difference in a crucial primary election,” Karen shared in a CCL Community post.
These aren’t the only meaningful messages the Naperville chapter has generated lately. “At our chapter's tabling events last spring, we asked children who attended to color a picture for their Congress member about why they love the earth,” Karen says. “Our June lobbyists hand-delivered all the pictures to the Congress members in Washington, D.C.”
Great job spreading the word about climate, CCL Naperville!
Want to get involved in CCL's election season activities? We're working to make climate a priority issue for every candidate, Republicans and Democrats alike.
See Election Season Activities
Want your chapter to be featured? Share your info and photos with us.
2/8: What Happened At COP28? - Join Citizens' Climate International Executive Director Joseph Robertson to learn the main impacts, takeaways and results of this past December’s gathering of the UN Conference of the Parties in Dubai. Check out Joe’s written debrief or join us live!
2/15: Building Community In Your Chapter - In this training, CCL's focused outreach staff will discuss approaches and resources to help you connect with volunteers of color, students, and those politically right of center, and how to do so in a way that ensures you “welcome the person, not the identity.” Join us!
Need training on the basics? Catch our next session of Core Volunteer Training, made for newer volunteers:
2/13: Lobbying Basics: Planning and Practicing Your Meeting - Nervous to meet with Congress? Totally normal! This session covers what a lobby meeting is like, and it gives you a chance to practice and prepare. Join us!
To see other topics and past trainings, visit the Training Topics page of CCL Community.
Nerd Corner Chart of the Week
Join the discussion about why building electrification and efficiency are critical to the Inflation Reduction Act's success