Nov 22, 2019

House Democrats' vague net-zero carbon emissions proposal

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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Europe's "Green Deal" shows the hard road to U.S. carbon emissions cuts

Ursula von der Leyen announces the European Green Deal on Dec. 11. Photo: Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty Images

Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president, yesterday unveiled plans for an ambitious "European Green Deal" meant to make the EU a net-zero emitter by 2050.

Why it matters: The EU is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitting region after China and the U.S.

Go deeperArrowDec 12, 2019

Mike Bloomberg releases his first domestic climate plan

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg would aim to cut economy-wide U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and implement policies that would make 80% of power generation zero-carbon by 2028.

Why it matters: Those are two key targets in broadly worded plans unveiled Friday that mark the first detailed domestic climate proposals from the billionaire's campaign, and follow his years of advocacy on the topic.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

Why climate change is a defining issue for 2020

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images

Climate change is playing a larger — and more polarizing — role than ever before in a presidential election.

Why it matters: In the past, the topic barely registered with voters and candidates were less polarized. Today, all Democratic candidates are treating it as a crisis, with detailed plans and funding sources to address it, while President Trump ignores the problem and bashes those plans.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019