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Cardin, Van Hollen Introduce Legislation to Achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S. by No Later Than 2050

February 11, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) introduced the Clean Economy Act with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and 30 of their colleagues. This legislation would put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

“As the climate crisis, which threatens the health and well-being of my constituents in Maryland and Americans across the nation, becomes increasingly apparent, people are rightfully demanding action from their federal government,” said Senator Cardin. “The Clean Economy Act recognizes that the EPA lies at the center of America’s climate future and empowers it to address climate change proactively. Making the necessary investments to reach net-zero will strengthen our economy, create good-paying jobs, and protect public health and national security.  The most expensive and unrealistic course of action is to ignore the mounting costs of climate change and fail to respond.”

“The success of our economy is directly linked to our ability to develop innovative clean energy technologies and avoid the escalating costs of climate change. From addressing the threat of sea level rise, to preventing pollution that could harm the Chesapeake Bay, a plan for a clean economy is crucial to the prosperity of our communities and our country. This legislation provides EPA with important tools to confront carbon pollution change while promoting economic growth. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill, and I urge the Congress to take action on this issue immediately,” said Senator Van Hollen.

The world’s leading scientists have warned that humanity must limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. According to the United Nations annual Emissions Gap Report released last month, collective global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not yet substantial enough to reach that temperature goal.

The Clean Economy Act heeds the call for bold climate action and at the same time boosts American competitiveness, promotes healthier frontline communities and fosters a growing economy that works for everyone. The Clean Economy Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use existing authorities to put our country on a pathway to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

Cosponsors of the legislation also include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore).

By providing clear direction from Congress, the Clean Economy Act mandates EPA and other federal agencies to use authorities and tools already available to them to rapidly achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while fostering a stronger, fairer economy for all Americans.

Any plan developed by the EPA must achieve rapid reductions at minimal costs, prioritize public health, and support a strong labor workforce. EPA is also required to build upon existing state, local and private climate programs and set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2025, 2030 and 2040. Other federal agencies would be required to do their part to help the nation meet the net-zero goal and help enhance America’s global competitiveness through investments in research and development, innovation and equitable access to worker training.

This net-zero legislation is supported collectively by major environmental groups, business groups and organized labor. Find the full text of the bill, click here, and a summary of the bill and its supporters, here

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