‘Green New Deal’ is ‘aspirational’ — Carper

Source: Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018

House progressives have been talking up a “Green New Deal” platform, with the goal of getting to 100 percent renewable energy in a decade, but Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today offered a dose of skepticism.

“As an aspirational goal, is that a good goal? Yes, it is,” the Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member told reporters. “Is it all that realistic? Probably not in the environment where we work. Certainly not now.”

As the top Democrat on the Senate panel overseeing EPA and environmental legislation, Carper will likely be a key ally on climate issues in the next Congress for Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressives.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to create a select committee in the House tasked with drafting broad climate legislation by 2020. Goals include the 100 percent renewables target, massively decarbonizing industry and building a national “smart” grid.

She’s built nearly two dozen supporters in the House, as well as a handful across Capitol Hill, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who chaired the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming during his time in the House.

Carper, for his part, has largely focused on the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks, especially its proposed freeze of fuel economy standards, over the past year.

Carper has pitched the administration on a compromise version of the clean car standards, and he said today that “some people within the administration are open” to his proposal (E&E Daily, Dec. 6).

But heading into the next Congress, he suggested it may be good to have progressives pushing the party on climate change, calling the “Green New Deal” a “good aspirational goal.”

“It’s serious,” he said. “It’s really serious, so I think having an aspirational goal like that is just fine.”