CLIMATE

Dems' 'Action Plan': Carbon prices, net-zero emissions

Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will recommend a federal clean electricity standard, a carbon price and a national net-zero emissions goal, as part of the wide-ranging report they will officially unveil tomorrow.

The long-awaited document, which runs 538 pages, was crafted largely without input from the panel's Republicans and is widely seen as a climate guide for Democrats if they win control of government in 2021.

Democrats will roll out the document tomorrow morning at a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"The Climate Crisis Action Plan outlined in this report provides a roadmap for Congress to build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis," says the report, a copy of which was obtained by E&E News.

The report recommends that Congress set a national goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, with interim targets in 2030 and 2040.

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To reach that goal, the report suggests a wide variety of policies covering energy efficiency, agriculture and tax incentives.

They include a clean energy standard to reach net-zero emissions in the power sector by 2040 and "a technology-neutral national [zero-emission vehicle] sales standard to ensure all light-duty vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emission."

While the report does not offer a specific vision or timetable for a carbon tax, it argues that a price on carbon should be complementary to a set of other climate policies.

"Congress should consider a carbon price as only one tool to complement a suite of policies to achieve deep pollution reductions and strengthen community resilience to climate impacts," the report says. "Carbon pricing is not a silver bullet."

Democrats recommend nixing tax breaks for oil and gas extraction while extending the investment tax credit for solar.

The report offers some insight into Democratic thinking on nuclear and public lands policy.

Although it would not recommend an outright ban on fossil fuel leasing on public lands, it does argue for achieving net-zero emissions from public lands by 2040, as laid out in H.R. 5435, the sweeping climate bill from Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

When it comes to nuclear energy — a controversial topic among some environmental groups — select committee Democrats say Congress should ensure safe operation of the nation's fleet of reactors and support research for next-generation technology.

And amid widespread protests over racial inequality, environmental justice is a focus throughout the report.

That includes an environmental justice enforcement surge at EPA and a new proposed amendment to the Civil Rights Act to protect victims of environmental and climate injustice.

"Throughout this report, the majority staff for the Select Committee has integrated equity and environmental justice into the Climate Crisis Action Plan and its recommendations for building a cleaner and more resilient economy," the report says.

Twitter: @nick_sobczykEmail: nsobczyk@eenews.net

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