Lawmakers Offer Green New Deal Alternative

Lawmakers Offer Green New Deal Alternative


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Several leading House Democrats have introduced a new plan to deal with climate change and serve as an alternative to the so-called Green New Deal.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and two committee subcommittee chairmen, Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), announced Tuesday that the committee is adopting a bold new target in its fight against climate change – achieving a 100 percent clean economy by 2050.

The committee’s plan to produce net zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050 is consistent with the global scientific community’s consensus that meeting this target is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis, according to the lawmakers.

The lawmakers’ plan stands out in contrast to the Green New Deal, which was offered by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The Green New Deal would achieve a carbon-free economy 20 years earlier than the new Energy and Commerce plan.

“Communities across the country are suffering from historic flooding, raging wildfires, increasingly severe storms, extreme heat and persistent droughts,” Pallone said. “The climate crisis is here, and it requires serious federal leadership that’s up for the challenge. Today, we are announcing a plan that will help us produce comprehensive legislation to reach a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. This is an ambitious but necessary goal, and we’re committed to working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders across the country to get the job done.”

Over the coming months, the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a series of hearings and stakeholder meetings to hear the best ideas for developing a deep decarbonization strategy. The stakeholder meetings will be designed to ensure every affected community, industry and stakeholder has a seat at the table. The outcome of this process will be comprehensive climate legislation to address the climate crisis and facilitate the transition of the U.S. economy to net zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050.

The hearing series begins Wednesday, with the Environment and Climate Change subcommittee’s hearing on Pathways for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy. In the upcoming months, the hearings will continue in both the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee and the Energy Subcommittee.  Upcoming hearings will include discussions on reducing industrial emissions, reducing transportation emissions, modernizing the electric grid, economy-wide solutions and others.

“With record heatwaves, wildfires, flooding, and drought occurring more and more frequently in every region of the country, it is clear to the American people that now is the time for Congress and the federal government to act to address the issue of climate change,” Rush said. “The plan that we are unveiling here today demonstrates that the Energy and Commerce Committee understands the need for action and we are ready to move boldly to aggressively tackle this issue.

“As someone who represents a district whose constituents are disproportionately impacted by the symptoms of climate change, I look forward to working with Chairman Pallone, Chairman Tonko, and all of my Committee colleagues to meet with stakeholders to discuss the most effective ways to reach our goal of 100 percent clean economy by 2050,” Rush added.

In 2018 alone, the United States experienced 14 natural disasters costing a combined $91 billion. According to the U.S. government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, lost wages due to extreme temperatures are projected to rise over the coming decades, reaching $160 billion per year by the end of the century, while the cost of lost property from coastal flooding is projected to reach $1 trillion.

The window for limiting the worst effects of these climate-related disasters is rapidly closing. According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, avoiding the most catastrophic outcomes requires cutting carbon pollution to net zero by 2050, the Energy and Commerce members said.

Committee fact sheet available HERE.

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