House Democrats Release Wide-Ranging Climate Proposal

This week House Democrats on the Congressional Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released a report detailing a comprehensive strategy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The report lays out a framework for actions congress can take to achieve climate change goals. Included in the proposals are directives to federal agencies, and suggested legislation and climate targets. The proposal leans heavily on emissions reductions in the transportation and energy generation sectors.

Notable points and recommendations from the report that congress may eventually consider:

  • Incentivize state and local governments to update building codes to achieve net-zero emissions, including tax incentizes for new net-zero buildings. The report calls on congress to establish benchmark requirements.
  • Require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider greenhouse gas emissions in reviewing energy prices.
  • “Modernize” wholesale power markets to maximize capabilities of new technology such as renewable generation, battery storage, and distributed energy resources.
  • Accelerate electric vehicle adaption through a variety of strategies.
  • Provide increased, stable federal investment in pre-disaster mitigation and resilient disaster recovery to strengthen infrastructure, affordable housing, and relocation efforts to move families from areas at risk to the effects of climate change.
  • Strengthen support for federal research on climate change.

Key goals recommended and outlined in the report:

  • Preserve 30 percent all U.S. lands and ocean area by 2030 and develop a plan to achieve net-zero emissions on public lands.
  • Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Net-zero carbon emissions in the power sector by 2040.

From coverage in Utility Dive:

“This is the most comprehensive plan that Congress has ever put forward,” Brad Townsend, managing director for strategic initiatives at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions told Utility Dive. “We’re finally starting to have a conversation about action at the scale that will be necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change.”

Notably, the report does not call for an end to natural gas fracking or even explicitly call for an end to coal-fired power, and it leaves the door open for carbon capture technology and nuclear power to play a role in a net zero-carbon grid.

Read the full 547 report on the House website.