Dems’ budget deal with Manchin “keeps us in the climate fight” : NPR

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin signed an agreement to include energy and climate spending in a cross-party compromise bill.

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Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin signed an agreement to include energy and climate spending in a cross-party compromise bill.

Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In less than two weeks, the United States went from abandoning its climate commitments to trying to meet them.

The nearly $370 billion energy and climate spending deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin would be the largest federal clean energy investment in U.S. history. While it falls far short of the $555 billion package proposed by Democrats last year, early assessments of the legislation by climate change modeling experts suggest it would put the United States in a much stronger position to meet its commitments. Gives.

“It really makes me very optimistic,” said Jesse Jenkins, leader of the REPEAT project at Princeton University, which analyzes the impact of government climate action.

The new policies in the bill, opposed by Senate Democrats, would allow the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. That doesn’t quite meet President Biden’s stated goal of at least halving emissions by that point.

“It won’t get us there alone, but it will keep us in the climate war,” Jenkins said.

The Rhodium Group, which has shown in previous projects that the U.S. is far from meeting its climate goals, is still analyzing the text of the legislation, but has also shared a preliminary assessment.

“This could plausibly put the United States on track for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Additional actions by the Biden administration and states could close the remaining gap to the 50 to 52 percent reduction goal by 2030 will help.” Director Ben King said.

The bill still needs to pass procedural steps in the Senate and secure the support of all 50 Democrats to have a chance to pass through budget reconciliation legislation.

But getting closer to the country’s top goals is “very meaningful,” said Sarah Ladislaus, CEO of RMI, a nonpartisan organization pushing the country toward a faster transition to cleaner energy.

He said the Biden administration has set an aggressive climate goal and that “the deepest fear of everyone in the climate community is that commitments are commitments and actions don’t necessarily follow through.” Ladislav said the investment guarantee in the reconciliation bill lends credibility to such ambitious goals.

what’s in it

According to reports, the newly dubbed 2022 inflation-reduction law would target transportation and electricity generation, the two most emitting sectors of the US economy. Environmental Protection Organization.

It includes $60 billion for domestic manufacturing of clean energy components to grow local supply chains for renewable energy infrastructure such as solar panels and wind turbines.

It also extends tax credits that encourage the development of wind and solar energy projects and expands them to cover newer energy technologies such as hydrogen energy.

There are also a number of budget lines aimed at increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, making gas mileage cheaper for Americans and American companies. Eligible people in the market for an electric vehicle receive a $7,500 tax credit toward the purchase of a new device or $4,000 toward a used one.

The scope of the proposed spending is extraordinary, Ladislaw said, pointing to the inclusion of $60 billion for environmental justice work, which is part of an existing plan to direct dollars to communities disproportionately suffering the effects of climate change and pollution. Is. Long-debated methane emissions programs reduce climate-warming pollution from fossil fuel production.

From subsidizing manufacturing and construction, to reducing pollution, to making green technology more affordable for consumers, “it just has the whole set of things you want to see in an energy law that takes seriously the transition we need.” ” Ladislav said.

Compromise wins over many people, but not all

Although many Democrats and climate advocates have made compromises to keep Manchin in place, talk of new oil and gas production has eroded support among some climate activists.

Brett Hartle, director of government affairs at the Center for Biological Diversity, called regulations to allow oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and offshore waters a “climate suicide pact” and a blow to the communities that live nearby.

“Leasing more oil and gas is completely incompatible with maintaining a livable planet, so we have to fight this,” Hartle said.

Fossil fuel producers and GOP elected officials also raised concerns about the cost.

“We are very concerned about the potential negative impact of this bill on energy prices and American competitiveness, especially amid the global energy crisis and high inflation,” said Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council, a lobbying group. Oil and gas producers

But the approach of supporting renewable energy technology and continuing fossil fuel extraction was supported by others in the field of fossil fuels.

“We’re excited to see how this plays out and what language is included in this proposed rule,” said Eric Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, a group that represents wind and offshore. Oil and gas producers

Supporters hope these compromises, if successful in passing Congress, will also help preserve the policy.

“Clearly this is a necessary political deal,” Jenkins said. “If the alternative is no bill, then that’s clearly preferable.”

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