NewsClimate Change

Actions

Democrats start to trim climate agenda as negotiations intensify

Democrats ran on big promises but some ideas may stay out of final bill
Climate Fossil Fuels
Posted at 2:37 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:48:02-04

WASHINGTON — The transition to the future of how homes are heated and cooled is already happening.

Many businesses have already installed environmentally-friendly solar panels to generate the electricity they need.

While some businesses say the switch is obvious and easy, other businesses are more reluctant.

That includes some utility companies that are responsible for generating the electricity people use.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2.3% of America’s electricity is generated through solar panels.

Meanwhile, 60% of electricity in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

President Biden believes the more the country’s utility companies rely on fossil fuels, the harder it will be to stop the planet from getting warmer.

“When I think climate I think jobs," President Biden said at a recent event.

IDEAS

It’s why he supports efforts in the House of Representatives to create the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

The $150 billion program would reward utility companies that transition to clean energy, like solar, while penalizing those that do not.

However, as the New York Times first reported last week, that plan is likely getting removed from the pending spending legislation in Congress.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote is needed to pass anything, doesn’t like the idea of fining utility companies. Manchin, this week, expressed opposition to a carbon tax as well.

Manchin’s position is now in line with Republicans.

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming says it would hurt jobs, especially out west.

“The house Democrats plan will effectively end any new oil natural gas oil development on federal lands," Barraso said at a recent congressional hearing.

WHAT IS STILL POSSIBLE

Just because some climate change policy proposals appear to be off the table, it doesn’t mean every climate change proposal is off the table.

Americans who buy an electric vehicle in the coming years could still receive a tax credit worth at least $4,500 if the legislation passes Congress.

President Biden still wants billions of dollars to create the climate conservation corps too, which would employ thousands of young men and women to build projects to help the environment.

Tax incentives that inspire more renewable energy production is also expected, as well as some executive action by President Biden which doesn't require congressional approval.

Many environmentalists, however, believe more is needed.

Professor Leah Stokes of the University of California, Santa Barbara says taking the Clean Electricity Performance Program out of the bill would drastically hurt ambitions to cut emissions.

“The clean electricity performance program delivered about a third of the pollution cuts in the package, it was a real critical policy, and the answer can't be oh, gee shucks we lost out on that,“ Professor Stokes said in a recent interview.