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House committee unveils climate plan

More than 90 organizations express support for climate action plan that calls for net zero emissions by 2050.

Compiled by staff

July 1, 2020

5 Min Read
melting glacier
Paul Souders/Getty Images

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive plan, Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America, on Tuesday (June 30).

The action plan calls for:

  • Reaching 100% clean, net zero emissions economy-wide in the U.S. by no later than 2050.

  • Establishing interim targets to assess progress and reduce pollution in environmental justice communities.

  • Achieving net-negative emissions during the second half of the century.

“We have a plan – and it comes at a critical time,” said House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chairwoman Kathy Castor. “Our plan will put people back to work and rebuild in a way that benefits all of us. That means environmental justice and our vulnerable communities are at the center of the solutions we propose. The health of our families and the air we breathe are at the heart of our plan. We chart the course to good-paying jobs in solar and wind energy, in manufacturing American-made electric vehicles, and in strengthening communities, so they are more resilient to flooding, extreme heat, intense hurricanes and wildfires.”

The plan calls on Congress to:

  • Grow the nation's economy by putting Americans back to work in clean energy jobs.

  • Protect the health of families.

  • Make sure the nation's communities and farmers can withstand the impacts of climate change.

  • Protect America's land and waters for the next generation.

Related:‘Vision 2030’ addresses ag, climate change

The Climate Crisis Action Plan would save more than 60,000 American lives every year by 2050 by reducing air pollution, according to an independent analysis. In. addition, nearly $8 trillion would be saved through 2050 due to other health and climate benefits.

What are people saying?

The Climate Criss Action Plan, released as a majority staff report, has received the early support of more than 90 organizations, including leaders in environmental justice, agriculture, buildings, electricity, public health, resilience, and transportation.

Here's what some of them have to say about the action plan:

"We appreciate the hard work of lawmakers seeking to accelerate our progress toward a healthy climate and are pleased that this report recognizes that a zero-carbon future must include all clean transportation solutions—from ethanol to electric vehicles," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "We stand ready to explore policies and opportunities which showcase low-carbon, liquid fuels’ role in reducing emissions and pollution, and driving innovation for low-to-zero carbon renewable fuels."

Related:Climate-smart legislation on tap in Senate

“NSAC applauds the Select Committee for acknowledging agriculture's critical role in mitigating the climate crisis in their report. Farmers and ranchers work at the frontlines of climate change, and they hold a unique position to sequester carbon in our country’s soils through best management practices for soil health, crop and livestock integration, and agroforestry," said Eric Deeble, policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. "The report highlights the tools and resources Congress must provide to equip farmers to adapt to extreme weather and to contribute to the climate solution through carbon sequestration, emissions reductions, and increased resilience."

“RFA continues to analyze the report, but at first blush we are highly encouraged by the Select Committee’s acknowledgement that renewable fuels like ethanol can play an important role in reducing the carbon impacts of our nation’s transportation sector in the future,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“We are pleased that the report includes a recommendation to provide increased incentives and resources for farmers to adopt the 4Rs as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute. "In addition, we recommend including 4R practice implementation in any offset credit program that may accompany any market-based regime to reduce GHG emissions.”

“Climate change is the single greatest threat facing family farmers and ranchers and the global food supply," said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. "However, farmers are uniquely positioned to mitigate the effects of climate change and sequester carbon. National Farmers Union supports climate policies that build upon voluntary, incentive-based USDA conservation programs, encourage on farm energy production and biofuels, and market based solutions that will give farmers the tools to make the best decisions for their land."

“We thank the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis for urging robust support for voluntary conservation programs, which provide important technical and financial assistance to dairy farmers who work daily to be strong stewards of natural resources," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. "Importantly, the report also notes the need to make technologies more affordable so that farmers of all sizes and in all regions can adopt them."

But the report doesn't enjoy bipartisan support in the agriculture community.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association says the plan is "the product of partisan discussions that failed to encompass important constituent communities across the country."

"NCBA will continue working to ensure that all segments of the beef supply chain are recognized for their beneficial contributions and do not face punitive measures that unfairly or inaccurately target domestic food and fiber production," said Ethan Lane, NCBA vice president of government affairs. "Voluntary, inventive-based conservation is the most fruitful path to conserving America’s agricultural land through increased adoption of sustainable management practices."

Click on the download button below for a summary of the climate action plan.

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