Sunday, October 24, 2021

On climate change, Joe Biden plans $3.5T to make up for lost time

WASHINGTON – As President Joe Biden toured disaster site after disaster this summer – from wildfires in California to hurricane-induced floods in Louisiana and New York – he said climate change is “everyone’s crisis”. And America must be serious about the “code red” threat. resulting from global warming.

In many ways, the president is making up for lost time.

Biden and Democrats are pursuing a $3.5 trillion federal overhaul, which includes historic measures to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the most consequential ever since years of fits and starts. There will be environmental policies.

Sidelined after the former administration withdrew from the historic Paris climate accord – a 2015 global effort to combat climate change – the US is back in the arena, with Biden promising world leaders in April that the US will reduce carbon pollution by 2030. will make it half.

But adhering to Biden’s climate goals will largely depend on the passage of the Democratic package, and between centrist and progressive lawmakers, including disputes over its climate provisions, would steal the White House to close the deal.

“That’s where he earns his legacy,” Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Cal., said of Biden.

As Democrats race to scrap a package that touches nearly all aspects of American life, climate change-related proposals are proving to be a turning point, especially among leading centrist lawmakers.

The president met separately on Tuesday with Democratic Sense. Democrats, along with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema, took note of the package’s overall price tag and Marshall support. With Republicans against the plan, Democrats have few votes remaining as they attempt to pass it on their own.

“It’s Speaker Pelosi’s grand socialist agenda to destroy liberties and encourage our enemies to put American families on the back,” said Washington state Rep. Kathy McMorris Rogers, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce panel.

Still, climate provisions are among the most important elements of the comprehensive bill – for many Democrats and the voters who elect them. A poll last month by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 83% of Democrats are very concerned about climate change, compared to only 21% of Republicans.

“This is a ‘code red’ moment, but Democrats are answering the call,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida, chair of a special House committee on climate change.

“Our only hope to avoid catastrophe is to act immediately — act now,” Castor said Tuesday at the Capitol. She called climate change “a clear and present threat to American families facing brutal heat waves, devastating floods, failed electrical grids and historic wildfires.”

He said the Democratic plan would make historic investments in clean energy, climate resilience and environmental justice. “We have to get this right.”

Largely included in the legislation is a nationwide clean-electricity program that aims to eliminate climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035 — meeting requirements already set in some states.

The proposal would spend 500,000 to install electric vehicle charging stations and upgrade the power grid to make it more resilient during hurricanes and other extreme weather events that are increasing and intensifying as a result of climate change.

The measure would also create a New Deal-style civilian climate corps to free up an army of young people to work in public land and restoration projects.

“The climate crisis is here, and the costs of inaction are already staggering,” said Frank Pallon, D.N.J., president of Energy & Commerce. There were 22 climate and weather disasters in the US in 2020, each causing more than $1 billion in damage. Hurricane Ida and other recent disasters are likely to cost tens of billions more.

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The House is set to address some of these priorities on Thursday to consider a slimmer $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has funding for climate resilience, water system upgrades and other provisions.

But progressive Democrats say if the US has a chance of meeting Biden’s goal of halving the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, leaving both packages at a standstill as talks continue behind the scenes, then A far more comprehensive approach is needed.

“It’s about the habitability of this planet,” said Huffman, a Progressive Caucus member who said Democrats “were not ready to pick up steam on that.”

But Manchin has said he would not support many clean energy and climate provisions. As the powerful chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Munchkin has vowed to protect jobs in his coal and gas-producing state, saying the price tag for the Democratic bill is too high. Manchin said he did not give Biden any new topline figures after the White House meeting.

Munchkin and Cinema are not the only ones to object. Texas’ Seven House Democrats said the Democratic plan’s provisions could cost the energy industry thousands of jobs and increase energy costs for Americans.

“These taxes and fees, as well as the exclusion of natural gas production from the Clean Energy Initiative, constitute punitive practices,” Texas lawmakers said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The letter was signed by Representatives Henri Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez, Lizzie Fletcher, Sylvia Garcia, Mark Vesey, Philemon Vela and Colin Allred.

Overall, the Biden package aims to provide more than $600 billion to tackle climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions, funded largely by taxes on corporations, the wealthy and other levies, heeding Biden’s pledge. Keeping in view that tax should not be increased on any person earning less than Rs. $400,000 per year.

One option to increase revenue would be to levy a carbon tax. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Monday that he is developing legislation “that would pay for the costs of the climate crisis to polluters.”

But Wyden and others are mindful of Biden’s pledge not to hit Americans’ pocketbooks, and the senator said the carbon tax is being developed as part of a menu of options for consideration.

Environmental groups have lauded the overall package, describing it as a generation-to-generation opportunity.

Matthew Davis of the League of Conservation Voters said, “Investing in new clean energy technologies is one of the best things we can do right now to create good jobs for regular people, while maintaining long-term benefits and benefits for decades to come.” for a healthier planet.” .

Davis and other advocates said the clean-energy standard alone could create millions of jobs, while driving the US power sector toward zero-carbon emissions.

Democrats say the bill’s approval is crucial as elections are near.

“If we miss this moment,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, referring to Democratic control of Congress and the White House, “it’s unclear when we’ll have a second chance.”

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this story.

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