US House Democrats proposed a plan today to bring the US economy to net zero by 2050. This would include transitioning to EVs and green energy with tax incentives, new infrastructure, and government mandates.
The proposals would mandate electric utilities be net-zero emitters of greenhouse gases by 2040 and automakers produce only electric cars by 2035. The 538-page plan also backs placing a price on carbon emissions, imposing tougher methane limits, and boosting energy efficiency in buildings. Solar and wind tax credits would be extended through 2025, and the tax credit for electric vehicles would be expanded.
Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL), the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said:
It will provide a plan that can be taken off the shelf and adopted into law as soon as we are able to reconvene.
People would say, ‘Well, why are you releasing this in the middle of COVID and… protests?’ We can’t wait. We can’t wait any longer.
A Harvard University study at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which was updated on April 5, has confirmed that there is a direct correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and a higher coronavirus death rate.
Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
The House has an opportunity to put a down payment on those pledges this week as it considers an ambitious infrastructure bill. This measure would make much-needed investments in mass transit, pedestrian-friendly development, and electric vehicle charging stations, while at the same time spurring clean energy deployment and addressing our aging water infrastructure.
This is the kind of leadership our country needs right now — putting the well-being of people, communities, and our economy ahead of powerful polluters.
The bad news: This has little chance of becoming law because the Senate and Donald Trump are unlikely to pass it.
The good news: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Castor have submitted this plan in the hopes that Democratic victories in the elections this year will change the balance in Congress in 2021. So at least it’s now officially on the table.
This is a start — at least a climate-change plan is finally on the table on Capitol Hill. Will it go anywhere in 2020? No. But as Castor says, they’re planning ahead so the US can hit the ground running if Congress and the executive branch get on board next year. As the Pew study proves, this issue really does matter to Americans.
States have led the way — 30 states and the District of Columbia have already mandated utilities to get more of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Now the federal government needs to follow, and the sooner, the better.
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