House Dems jump aboard call to phase out fossil power

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017

House Democrats yesterday joined a Senate effort to move the nation’s energy sector to 100 percent renewables by 2050, bucking the Trump administration and fueling environmentalists’ calls to ban fossil fuels.

Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Jared Huffman of California and Pramila Jayapal of Washington state introduced the “100 by ’50 Act,” legislationaimed at transitioning the United States off fossil fuels by 2050.

Under the bill, the federal government would impose a national zero-emissions vehicle standard and impose a carbon tax on commercial aviation, maritime and rail.

The bill also calls for the implementation of a carbon tariff on carbon-intensive products entering the United States and $150 billion in climate bonds to “ensure climate resiliency throughout our existing infrastructure and communities, and provide planning grants to organizations, communities, tribes and states to develop their own plans and jump-start the transition.”

The House measure follows the introduction of sister legislation in the Senate last year that secured additional co-sponsors in recent months.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) last year took to the Senate floor to outline the details of the bill calling for a carbon price and several other principles, including using energy efficiency standards, converting “all electricity generation from fossil fuel electrons to green electrons,” and increasing research and development on new technologies (Greenwire, July 18, 2016).

In the past three months, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democratic Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Brian Schatz of Hawaii have signed up as co-sponsors.

The language has the backing of national groups like Environment America, 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Green for All and the National Congress of American Indians.

“Regardless of President Trump’s refusal to accept scientific facts, the U.S. has a global responsibility to mitigate our carbon emissions in order to ensure the survival of our Nation and its future generations,” Grijalva said in a statement.