Senate Democrats Unveil $400 Billion Climate Action Plan

August 26th, 2020 - by Al Jazeera

Plan Echoes Biden’s Blueprint Linking Climate Action and Economic Justice with US Economic Recovery

Al Jazeera

 (August 25, 2020) — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a plan to tackle climate change that calls for the United States government to spend more than $400bn a year to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The plan is the latest in a series of blueprints from Democrats detailing how the US can combat global warming. None are likely to proceed in the current Republican-controlled Senate, but they could get traction if the chamber flips to Democratic control after November’s election.

“When Democrats retake the majority in the Senate we will be united to move swiftly,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said on a call with reporters. “Passing climate legislation will be a top priority.”

Spokespeople for the Senate’s Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan would aim to create at least 10 million jobs in areas such as clean energy manufacturing and research and development for new technologies, said the 260-page report by the Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Last month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged to invest two trillion dollars on clean energy infrastructure during his first four-year term in office if he wins the White House in November. His plan inexorably links climate action with jobs creation, environmental justice and reviving the economy. 

The administration of US President Donald Trump has downplayed the risks of climate change and cut regulations on fossil fuel industries.

The plan offered by Senate Democrats also calls for reforming lobbying laws to reduce the influence of those industries.

Some environmental groups said the Senate Democrats’ plan did not go far enough and called for the elimination of subsidies for oil and gas companies.

“Senate Democrats talk a good talk when it comes to environmental justice, labor rights, and the climate crisis, but this report does not walk the walk,” Charlie Jiang, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said in a statement.

The report said the price tag, equal to about two percent of US economic output as measured by gross domestic product, is justified by the urgency of the crisis and the far more expensive economic disruption caused by changing temperatures. At least 40 percent of the benefits from the climate spending would benefit low-income communities.

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