Nov 22, 2019

House Democrats' vague net-zero carbon emissions proposal

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Top House Democrats are taking a page from the Green New Deal playbook by offering a sweeping proposal that’s aimed at building momentum — but leaves tough choices for later.

Driving the news: Thursday, over 150 House Democrats floated legislation aimed at bringing the country to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

  • Rep. Donald McEachin's bill is co-sponsored by chairs and senior members of several committees, including leaders on Energy and Commerce, and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Why it matters: The bill has no chance in the current Senate and under President Trump. But the choreographed rollout is a sign of organizing on the topic.

  • I got a burst of supportive press releases from establishment green groups — like the Center for American Progress and League of Conservation Voters — as the bill was unveiled.
  • And the backing and the co-sponsorship of various committee leaders very likely signals an effort blessed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though her aides did not respond to an inquiry.

How it works: The plan requires every federal agency to craft plans — which can include regulations, incentives and more — that are aimed at getting the country to the net-zero goal.

  • It also envisions agencies letting Congress know of additional powers they may need.

But, but, but: It leaves a lot of policy details be sorted out later, to say the least.

  • The sweeping bill doesn't wade into any policy specifics or thorny questions — such as the role of nuclear power and carbon capture tech — where the left isn't united.

What's next: Rep. Paul Tonko, a senior Energy and Commerce Committee member, tells The Washington Examiner that the bill is a framework for more detailed legislation that he and others are working on.

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Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.