At the heart of a budget bill is a powerful mechanism that would reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions, which fuel change.climate ent.
WASHINGTON - The coming weeks at Capitol Hill will be critical to the President's climate agenda Biden - including if the president can make the case to the rest of the world that the United States will keep its promise to dramatically reduce global warming emissions.
In Congress, details emerge of climate and clean energy policies in the weeping $ 3.5 trillion budget package that Democrats are drafting and hope to send to Mr Biden's office. 'by the end of the year.
As Progressive Democrats and Mr. Biden envision, the budget bill, which would include a historic expansion of social protection programs, would also be the largest climate legislation to pass in Congress.
The most powerful climate mechanism in this bill is $ 150 billion incentive and penalty program designed to replace the Most of the country's coal and gas-fired power plants over the next decade by wind, solar and nuclear power plants. The program would pay electr ice suppliers for increasing the amount of electricity they produce from clean, zero-emission sources, and fining those who don't.
Power plants that burn fossil fuels are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after cars and trucks, and closing them would significantly reduce heat-trapping pollution from the country. If she is promulged, it could be the centerpiece of Mr Biden's climate agenda.
On Monday, the House Energy Committee will begin consideration of this provision, known as the Clean Electricity Performance Plan.
Many Democrats returning from recess to Washington next week say they are emboldened to push for the clean electricity plan and other aggressive climate action after a summer in which nearly every corner of the country experienced deadly drought, flooding, wildfires and heat waves which, according to scientists, were aggravated by cli changematerial .
Democrats are now arguing that proposed record spending on climate change is an economic imperative.
"Last year alone, our country experienced 22 major natural disasters that cost Americans a record $ 95 billion in damage - numbers that are more than double the the historic average, but which still does not reflect the cost of lost jobs or the trauma of families losing their homes, ”said Rep. Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who will draft the central provisions of the climate bill. "The climate crisis is here, and the cost of inaction is already enormous. Image A solar panel farm in Phillipsburg, NJ on May 10, 2021. Credit ... Erin Schaff / The Hfrance.fr
The commission of the House Energy will debate other climate provisions in the budget bill, including $ 13.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations and promote electrification of heavy goods vehicles. Another program would spend $ 9 billion dollars to modernize the electricity grid, make it more conducive to the transmission of wind and solar energy, and make it more resistant to extreme temperatures, floods and fires that scientists say are now inevitable. Another provision would spend $ 17.5 billion to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from federal buildings and vehicles.This budget bill would charge oil and gas companies for leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The government would use the revenue from these fees to pay for climate change mitigation programs.
At the same time, Democrats in other committees are developing tax incentives designed to attract Ameri Drivers can move away from fossil-fueled cars - the nation 's main source of greenhouse pollution - and turn to electric vehicles, and boost companies that design fuel-efficient technologies 'clean energy. They are preparing money for a " Civilian Climate Corps "- a program designed to put young people to work in environmental conservation and climate resilience. And they preparent to funnel billions to help low-income and minority communities, who are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, as well as communities who would lose fossil fuel jobs due to climate change policies.
But the adoption of such policies is still far from certain. Republicans have already indicated they will oppose the $ 3.5 trillion budget plan. This means Democrats will need every vote their party has. Two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they oppose the price tag and are looking for programs to cut. Mr Manchin in particular could focus on dropping provisions that would harm the coal industry.
In July, the world main agency of the ' energy said countries around the world must immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline vehicles if they are to avoid the effects. most catastrophic of climate change.
Despite a precipitous decline in the United States, the coal industry is still prominent in West Virginia. Manchin has financial ties to the industry; he owns shares valued between $ 1 million and $ 5 million in Enersystems Inc., a coal brokerage firm. Last year, Mr. Manchin made $ 491,949 in the
A spokesperson for Mr. Manchin, Sam Runyon, did not respond to an e -mail seeking comment.
However, several Democratic Congressional staff who have worked on Powerhouse language say they have been in close and frequent contact with Mr. Manchin's staff when drafting the bill. More than one described the senator's current stance on language as "not a no".
Mr. Biden will need something more definitive than that, however, and soon, if he wants to convince countries other than the United States - the world's largest economy and the second-largest greenhouse gas polluter. greenhouse - can change the way they do about the climate, after four years in which former President Donald J. Trump openly mockedof climate change science.
In November, Mr Biden is due to attend a major United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where world leaders should make new commitments by pledging to further reduce global warming emissions - and demonstrate national policies that will enable them to meet those commitments.
Mr. Biden has already done the first: Earlier this year, he made a bold pledge that the United States would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. And it s 'is also committed to fully phasing out fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035.
It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to meet these targets without the adoption of the Electricity Performance Planclean, experts say.
"This budget bill needs to pass for the United States to have credibility in Glasgow," said Alice Hill , a senior member of the Council on Foreign Relations, who also served as a climate advisor to the National Security Council during the Obama administration.
Speaking specifically of the agenda clean electricity, she said, “This element is essential. This will essentially be one of the most effective ways to get significant reductions immediately. "
If the final bill is passed without the power plant plan, Ms Hill says," This will unfortunately be interpreted as a signal that the United States is not not engaged. It will be much more difficult for Team Biden to convince the rest of the world that we are back. "