Dec 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Lawmakers close to striking bipartisan deal on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

All kinds of strange things can happen in a lame-duck session — ahead of a White House transition no less — and apparently a bipartisan energy deal is among them.

Driving the news: Per multiple reports (like this Washington Examiner piece) and some of Axios' own sourcing, lawmakers are closing in on an agreement on a package that would be attached to an omnibus spending deal moving through Congress.

Why it matters: One major provision is an apparent deal on phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a very potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration, air-conditioning and other applications.

  • "We have made very good progress towards an agreement on HFC reduction," Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said on the chamber's floor yesterday.
  • He said it would be the "single biggest victory in the fight against climate change to pass this body in a decade."

The big picture: Per a draft reviewed by Axios and several reports, the overall measure contains a suite of provisions authorizing finance and overhaul of Energy Department programs to boost innovation and deployment of carbon removal tech, energy storage, renewables, nuclear and more.

  • Here's a snippet of a detailed E&E News piece this morning: "In total, the bill would authorize $35.2 billion in research spending over the next decade. That includes more than a dozen demonstration projects on advanced nuclear reactors, energy storage and carbon capture technologies."

Yes, but: Bipartisan energy deals come around extremely rarely, so let's see if this actually happens.

  • Roll Call reported last night that "House Democratic leadership had not delivered an official blessing of the energy deal" and that the situation is "fluid."
Go deeper