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Climate group forming in Oklahoma City

Citizens Climate Lobby is forming a new chapter in Oklahoma City to bring light to the threat of global warming.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: December 11, 2012 at 10:26 am •  Published: December 11, 2012

Citizens Climate Lobby is establishing a chapter in Oklahoma City to join its fight to persuade lawmakers of the dangers of climate change.

Steve Valk, the group's regional manager, said about a dozen local residents attended an organization meeting Sunday night .

“Everybody got fired up and energized,” he said.

Valk said he expects a core of about six to eight Oklahoma City residents to start meeting in January. Citizens Climate Lobby, which has had a chapter in Norman for about two years, has about 75 chapters across the country, he said. The group expects to have 100 chapters by spring, with representation in every state by summer.

Kathy Rand, a biologist who is a member of the Norman chapter, said the group is pushing for a carbon fee that would help wean the U.S. off fossil fuels. The proposal, which has not gained any traction in Washington, also would impose a tariff on imports from countries without similar carbon taxes, she said.

Executives at companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have spoken in favor of such a plan because it would make commodity prices more predictable, Rand said.

“This is a market-based approach to lowering carbon emissions,” Valk said.

Ola Fincke, a University of Oklahoma biology professor, said the group is striving to educate voters and politicians about the science behind climate change. She said the Norman chapter had an “encouraging” meeting with an aide for Sen. Jim Inhofe, a frequent critic of climate science, when the group formed.

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