Sep 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

AFL-CIO adds another layer to Democrats' energy puzzle

Illustration of oil rigs and smoke stakes seen on puzzle pieces

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The AFL-CIO, a key part of the Democratic coalition, says it wants to go big on climate change. But its policy goals don't always line up with other parts of the left.

Driving the news: The labor federation and the nonprofit Energy Futures Initiative yesterday unveiled a "framework for good jobs in a low-carbon future."

  • The 10 pillars of the plan have plenty of things that labor and climate activists agree on.
  • Think, for instance, bolstering the domestic offshore wind supply chain; expanded investments in building efficiency; and policy reforms to build out the transmission needed to bring renewables to urban areas.

Yes, but: Some aspects of the plan won't sit especially well with the left flank of the green movement (I put it that way because climate activists have a wide range of views).

  • It sees a substantial continuing role for natural gas in ways "consistent with meeting climate goals." But many activists are pushing to phase down gas production and use as quickly as possible.
  • More broadly, it makes the case for more aggressive efforts to develop and deploy carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies.
  • It makes several arguments for the tech, which faces skepticism and even hostility among some activists who oppose fossil fuels.
  • For instance, it calls it a needed to decarbonize high-emitting industries like steel, pulp and paper, cement and more.

Go deeper: The Washington Examiner has more on the plan from the AFL-CIO and EFI, which is led by Obama-era energy secretary Ernest Moniz.

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