Dems lay out new greenhouse gas emissions efforts

Democrats leading the House Energy and Commerce Committee of which Oklahoma Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin is a member have unveiled what they describe as a “sweeping” draft bill aimed at slashed greenhouse gas emissions across the economy.

Rep. Mullin has yet to publicly comment about the plans of the Democrats but the bill attempts to achieve net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

As laid out by Axios News, the bill includes:

  • A “clean electricity standard” that forces utilities to provide 100% zero-carbon power, with escalating requirements beginning almost immediately.
  • New requirements for states to submit plans showing how they will meet net-zero emissions targets.
  • Requirements for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deeply weave climate into natural gas-related decisions.
  • New financial support and requirements for low-carbon buildings codes and infrastructure.
  • Vastly stronger vehicle emissions rules and support for EV infrastructure.
  • A “buy clean program” aimed at spurring decarbonization of energy-intensive manufacturing.
  • Mandates for the oil-and-gas industry to deeply cut methane emissions.
  • A “National Climate Bank” to spur more investment in low-carbon tech deployment

Axios reporter Ben Geman indicated Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone is not hopeful in getting the support of Rep. Mullin and other Republicans on the committee.

“There’s a fundamental problem here which I would be crazy not to acknowledge, which is most of them are climate deniers,” said Pallone in making the announcement. While the bill is expected to be approved in the Committee and the full House, support in the Senate is not anticipated.

As Geman indicated in his Axios column on Thursday, carbon pricing is de-emphasized and there is no explicit tax or fee in the framework.

“We think we can get there and achieve this goal without it,” Pallone said of pricing.

  • The plan notes that power companies, under the “clean electricity standard,” could “buy and trade clean energy credits from one another or purchase them via auction.”
  • And lawmakers name-checked the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the existing cap-and-trade program among northeastern states when discussing state options.
  • Elsewhere, it says that states who don’t submit or get approval for net-zero plans are “automatically subject to a backstop carbon fee.”The plan includes crediting nuclear power and fossil generation with carbon capture in the “clean electricity standard.”
  • The upstart Sunrise Movement, which is aligned with the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party and backs the Green New Deal, called the plan a step in the right direction but also attacked it.
  • Sunrise’s Lauren Maunus said it “falls short of the scale and scope of action the U.S. must take to tackle the dual crises of climate change and skyrocketing inequality.” The group Friends of the Earth bashed the plan, too.

Source:  Aixios News