by Faisal Islam & Emma Korein, UD PhD Candidates and Climate Fellows

In June 2023, we (Faisal and Emma) made our way to Capitol Hill for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Conference. More than one thousand volunteers gathered from all over the country; every state’s chapter was present and ready to speak with their congress members in Washington, D.C. We were invited by Beth Chajes, Delaware CCL chapter lead, to engage student leaders and perspectives. 

The three day conference included educational talks, workshops and meetings, followed by one jam-packed day of climate lobbying. The main goal was to train concerned citizens to talk to their representatives in Congress and encourage them to take action on climate change. The first two days were designed for dialogue, discussion and training workshops involving storytelling, climate security and environmental justice issues presented by the environmental justice office at the Environmental Protection Agency. One highlight was the participation of two Ghanaian lawmakers who described their local climate change issues and shared international climate change negotiation tactics. Several events encouraged participants to perform a mock lobby meeting and to roleplay to prepare participants for a successful meeting. This was the first in-person meeting since COVID-19, so there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy to engage Capitol Hill. 

CCL lobbying day focused on bipartisan bills that inform climate and environmental actions, specifically policies on carbon pricing and carbon taxes. Each CCL chapter had set up as many meetings as they could with senators and representatives from their respective states. The Delaware chapter started the morning with a meeting with Senator Tom Carper and then with Chris Avila, legislative aide to Senator Chris Coons. In the afternoon, the chapter also met with the office of Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. As a resident of Philadelphia, Emma also joined the CCL Philadelphia Chapter to meet with the office of Congressman Brendan Boyle. 

One of our favorite parts of the meetings was that, as students, we had the opportunity to share our research and how it relates to various climate change policies. Faisal discussed his research with the indigenous population of Sunderbans in Bangladesh and their role in climate change adaptation. Emma shared her experience speaking with community members about offshore wind development, noting that people feel strongly about bringing benefits back to local communities. 

The CCL Conference was a great experience to develop our professional skills in presenting our work to public audiences. It also helped us, as Ph.D. students, to think about the real-world implications of our research and their applications to climate change policy. 

You can learn more about the Delaware CCL at 

and learn more about the Climate Fellows at