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Senate Democrats Lay Out Climate Bill Principles

A coalition of 12 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today outlining principles for a climate and energy bill. The

Jul 31, 2020
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A coalition of 12 Senate Democrats sent a letterto Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today outlining principles for a climate and energy bill. The lawmakers call for a vague “price on carbon,” without laying out specific details for how the cap would be structured or what sectors it would cover.
“A price on carbon can be achieved in a number of different way,” the senators write, noting that a cap should achieve the following goals:
  • A target of at least a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from 2009 levels by 2020, and an 83% reduction by 2050. This 1% reduction per year through 2020 is consistent with President Obama’s goal of a 17% overall reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2020. [See below for an explanation of these numbers.]
  • Equal or greater investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy as for subsidies given to traditional, non-renewable fuels from revenues raised by establishing a price on carbon.
  • Protect consumers by returning a majority of the revenue generated from pricing carbon directly to American households.
  • Retain all existing authorities related to conventional pollutants. We should not weaken existing pollution laws that protect public health and the environment in exchange for establishing a price on carbon.
The letter also lays out a framework for three other sections of a comprehensive climate and energy bill: an oil spill response, a section on “clean energy jobs” and a section that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The following senators signed the letter: Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.).
Update:Sen. Whitehouse’s office clarifies the seeming discrepancy between the president’s goal of a 17% reduction by 2020 and the letter’s 10% target: “The president called for a 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. Our letter calls for a 10% reduction from 2009 levels by 2020. Given the actual reduction in GHG emission levels between the president’s benchmark of 2005 and our benchmark of 2009, both targets end up at a similar level in 2020.”
Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna

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Paolo Reyna is a writer and storyteller with a wide range of interests. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies. Paolo enjoys writing about celebrity culture, gaming, visual arts, and events. He has a keen eye for trends in popular culture and an enthusiasm for exploring new ideas. Paolo's writing aims to inform and entertain while providing fresh perspectives on the topics that interest him most. In his free time, he loves to travel, watch films, read books, and socialize with friends.
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