The US Senate has been in extensive talks — and some very heated arguments — for days in order to attempt to reach agreement over the latest stimulus bill in response to COVID-19. Democrats say the delay is a result of the bill not containing enough support for healthcare systems. Republicans argue that Democrats are trying to ram through the Green New Deal. The latter is wrong.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said, according to the Hill:
We’re here trying to fight for the man and woman on the street in our hometowns, and yet they’re fighting for the Green New Deal.
And Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said:
I keep hearing about the House wanting a Green New Deal as part of this emergency package. That’s a total red herring.
There’s no Green New Deal in this thing, so let’s get real.
Hats in the ring
The Trump administration wants $3 billion from Congress to fill the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which will lead to a glut of oil on the market.
And NPR reports:
Two trade groups, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), sent a joint letter to members of Congress last week saying that extending the credits ‘would allow our member companies to hire thousands of additional workers and inject billions in the U.S. economy.’
International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director, Fatih Birol, wrote of the importance of considering clean energy on March 14:
The coronavirus is turning into an unprecedented international crisis, with serious repercussions for people’s health and economic activity. Although they may be severe, the effects are likely to be temporary. Meanwhile, the threat posed by climate change, which requires us to reduce global emissions significantly this decade, will remain. We should not allow today’s crisis to compromise our efforts to tackle the world’s inescapable challenge.
Large-scale investment to boost the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies — such as solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture (CCUS) — should be a central part of governments’ plans because it will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions.
And yet transitioning to 100% green energy, or EVs, is not included in the bill.
Environmental groups are indeed fighting funding for the fossil fuel industry and pushing for tax incentives for green energy and stricter emissions rules on airlines. (And they’re right to do so: There is a direct correlation between pollution and health.)
But none of that, barring emissions reductions measures for the airline industry, is included in the bill. So it’s sad that something that should be in there isn’t, and the thing that isn’t even in there is being used as a political weapon. Why did the Democrats not include clean energy? Bundling bills is the norm on Capitol Hill. Perhaps they figured it might delay the much-needed stimulus bill and would be used… as a political weapon. Which it was anyways.
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