Dems propose bank to finance decarbonization

Source: By Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2019

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) want to create a national bank to finance renewable energy, clean transportation and other projects aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

New legislation would create a nonprofit National Climate Bank with $35 billion in federal funding over six years.

It would funnel money to various renewables, electric vehicle storage and industrial decarbonization projects, with the goal of drawing as much as $1 trillion in private investment.

Dingell introduced the House version of the legislation yesterday with Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Cindy Axne (D-Iowa).

It’s a companion to S. 2057, which Markey floated earlier this year with Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) as co-sponsors.

“The National Climate Bank Act builds on the successful Green Bank example in Michigan, and mobilizes investment directly into the greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects most in need of capital,” Dingell said in a statement. “The expansion of these projects will create good jobs, a strong future workforce, and deliver a clean economy that works for communities in Michigan and across the country.”

The idea is gaining popularity among climate activists and presidential candidates as they look for ways to aggressively accelerate the clean energy transition, but it’s not new.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have floated similar legislation — H.R. 3423 and S. 1528 — in this Congress to create a national green bank.

The new bill has support from a variety of environmental groups, which see it as an easy way to get the private sector more involved in decarbonization.

“A climate bank is a model for how the financial, government, and private sectors can work together to leverage investment in climate action,” Markey said in a statement. “Finding innovative ways to capture and accelerate the momentum of the green economy is the kind of American ‘can-do’ spirit that we will need to combat the climate crisis.”