The Biden administration has said a large spending bill will be the “largest effort to combat climate change in U.S. history,” with hundreds of billions of dollars earmarked to support clean energy. , electric vehicles and new defenses against extreme weather. Events. But some key parts of Joe Biden’s original plan were left out.
After negotiations with Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, two centrist Democratic senators who have opposed large portions of the original Build Back Better bill, the White House said it was confident a reduced version of the legislation would be able to to approve both chambers of Congress. “put the United States on track to achieve its climate goals.”
This proposed framework includes $ 555 billion in tax incentives, investments and bonuses to strengthen the deployment of renewable energy such as solar and wind, as well as a tax cut that will offer up to $ 12,500 to people who buy a car electric. The bill will help deploy new electric buses and trucks, improve community resilience to forest fires and disastrous floods, and employ 300,000 people in a new “civilian climate corps.”
In all, the White House said the legislation will reduce global warming emissions by 1 billion tons by 2030 and bring the United States significantly closer to its goal of reducing carbon pollution in the middle of this decade.
The legislation has been significantly reduced following objections raised by Manchin and Sinema about its scope: Biden needs all Senate Democrats to vote in favor of the bill to overcome unified Republican opposition, but the remaining framework still represents the first and largest major U.S. attempt to address the climate crisis.
“It’s a historic day for people and the planet,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the Conservation Voters League. “Congress must quickly pass the Build Back Better Act and send it to President Biden to sign.”
On Thursday, Biden will travel to Europe to hold crucial UN climate talks in Scotland. The US president has said it would be “very, very positive” for the reconciliation bill to be passed before the Cop26 summit, in order to strengthen the credibility of the United States and help convince other countries to do so. more to deal with catastrophic forest fires, floods and increasing heat waves. triggered by global warming.
This effort has been repeatedly hampered by objections from Manchin, a West Virginia senator with deep ties to the coal industry who managed to remove from the bill a system that would have removed fossil fuels from the U.S. power grid. . This plan was responsible for a third of the emission cuts in the original version of the legislation, according to analysts.
The new framework does not include the fees paid by oil and gas producers when they emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Manchin also opposed this rate in the original bill and rejected a proposal to include a tax or price on carbon emissions. However, the Environmental Protection Agency is prepared to regulate methane emissions through its existing competencies.
These omissions mean that the framework of the legislation represents a historic investment in clean energy, but does not include any mechanism to reduce the use of fossil fuels or even reduce subsidies to the oil, coal and gas companies that have caused the climate crisis.
“Given the opportunity to cancel billions of dollars in national subsidies for oil and gas pollutants, the president and congressional leadership have been transferred,” said Mitch Jones, director of food and water policies Watch. “A climate plan that does not directly address the oil and gas industry cannot be considered significant.”
Climate experts, however, have noted that the bill, if passed, would represent a major step forward in addressing the climate crisis, while making it clear that more emission cuts will be needed to prevent states from United and the world are barely spiraling. habitable climatic state.
Leah Stokes, a climate policy expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said it would be “great news” if the legislation is passed because “climate math is brutal.”
“Even if we are lucky enough to get that bill at the finish line, we need more next year,” he tweeted. “The climate clock is moving forward.”
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