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Local group seeks bipartisan solution to climate change
Terry Welsher
Terry Welsher

A new group in Forsyth County is hoping to change the way locals think about climate change and has an idea for how to combat it.

The Forsyth County chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby held its first monthly meeting recently and is looking to expand its footprint in the county. 

Terry Welsher, chapter leader and state co-coordinator, said one issue in discussing the topic is the political nature of the argument, and the group — at the national level — aims to find a non-political solution to climate change.

“Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-partisan, grassroots organization working on climate solution,” Welsher said. “The non-partisan piece of it is very important. We have liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, a lot of variation in our membership because we’re all focused on the climate issue.”

Welsher said he was aware of Forsyth’s conservative politics but such communities “hold the key” to change.

“In living in a county like Forsyth County, which is a conservative community, it is very difficult sometimes to get this message out because people have preconceived notions,” he said. “They don’t know that there are solutions that aren’t a drag on the economy.”

The aim of the national group, which has nearly 60,000 members and 384 chapters, is to introduce a fee and dividend program based on the amount of carbon dioxide extracted by fossil fuel companies.

“Our main goal is to enact a market-based solution to the climate change issue,” Welsher said. “The idea is a fee is placed on fossil fuels … which has a specific number attached to it.”

The goal is to have the funds, except for a small administrative fee, go back to the public. Welsher said the money would not go to the federal government or be used on other projects and the fee would increase each year. 

“Nobody gets put out of business the first year or anything like that,” he said. “But, it gives people a chance to make new investments that will take into account that there is now a clear market signal that says the price of fossil fuels is going to gradually go up and look less attractive than it is today when looking at non-emitting technologies.”

Welsher said the group is new but is already reaching out to speak to other local groups and to reach out to U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall, of District 7, and Doug Collins, of District 9. He said the eventual goal is to have a group in every congressional district in the country. 

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