House Democrats - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 2, 2020

House Democrats release climate plan for net-zero by 2050

Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives released a proposal on June 30 that would get the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by emphasizing the electrification of the transportation sector and deployment of clean energy technologies.

The 547-page report suggests a plan to convert the U.S. power sector to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, with building, transportation and industrial electrification finalized by 2050, Utility Dive reported. The publication also reported that there is not much hope in the plan moving forward in its current form as it becomes viewed through a partisan lens by Republicans.

The Climate Crisis Action Plan would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop a transmission strategy and remove barriers to renewable energy from the wholesale power markets. Additionally, the plan focuses on electrification by mobilizing incentives, infrastructure and other support for the development of zero-emission vehicles.

"This is the most comprehensive plan that Congress has ever put forward," Brad Townsend, managing director for strategic initiatives at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told the publication. "We're finally starting to have a conversation about action at the scale that will be necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change."

While Democrats have previously advocated for an end to natural gas fracking, the plan does not specifically call for such an action. Instead, it advocates for policies that would direct FERC and the Department of Energy to consider climate and environmental impacts when approving natural gas pipelines or export infrastructure. 

The plan also calls for establishing national energy efficiency targets and expanding funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to include building electrification.

To encourage the pursuit of clean energy, the Climate Crisis Action Plan calls for aligning the tax code with a net-zero goal and eliminating unnecessary tax breaks for oil and gas companies, which currently allows independent oil and gas producers to deduce 100% of their intangible drilling costs in the first year and integrated oil companies to deduce 70% of these costs in the first year and amortize the rest over five years. This part of the proposal also recommends carbon pricing that targets the 2050 net-zero goal and particularly benefits low- and moderate-income households.

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