House Leaders Announce ‘Ambitious But Necessary’ Clean Energy Goal

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Democratic House committee leaders have announced a bold new plan to achieve a 100% clean economy by 2050.

The plan was introduced on Tuesday by U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill. The congressmen serve, respectively, as energy and commerce chairman, environment and climate change chairman, and energy subcommittee chairman. According to the congressmen, the 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.

“Communities across the country are suffering from historic flooding, raging wildfires, increasingly severe storms, extreme heat and persistent droughts,” Pallone says. “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, according the congressmen. The goal will be to produce comprehensive climate legislation.

“Much has changed in the decade since Congress last considered a comprehensive climate plan, including transformative advances in clean energy technology and a far deeper understanding of climate science and the cost of continued inaction,” notes Tonko. “For the sake of the American people, and the public health and safety of the communities we represent, we cannot afford to fail. We have a plan to get the job done, and that exactly what we intend to do.”

The hearing series begins today, 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 more.

“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 says.

In response to the plan, the Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune, has released the following statement:

“The House Energy and Commerce Committee is taking the 100 percent clean energy progress happening in cities and states all across the country to a national scale. From deadly hurricanes in the southeast, to floods in the Midwest, to wildfires and droughts in the West, Americans across the country are demanding climate action louder than ever before because they’re already living with its catastrophic effects – and congressional Democrats are listening.

“Every person in this country should be able to breathe clean air, have affordable energy bills, and realize the benefits of a strong, thriving local economy. This is an opportunity to tackle the climate crisis while creating a just and equitable clean energy economy that lifts up communities facing the worst of the climate crisis, creates new jobs, drives American innovation, reduces air and water pollution, and protects the beautiful places we enjoy. The Sierra Club thanks Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Paul Tonko and Rep. Bobby Rush for taking this important step forward.”

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