Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and 31 of their colleagues in introducing the Clean Economy Act, legislation that would put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
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.
“If we are serious about addressing the climate crisis, the U.S. must strive for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Bennet. “The Clean Economy Act will drastically reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, benefit rural and disadvantaged communities, and promote economic growth, all while improving public health. Climate change is an existential threat and we can’t push it off to the next generation. We need to act now.”
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.
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.
As a member of both the Bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, Bennet has prioritized climate action and introduced measures to help the U.S. reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere. In December, he released a discussion draft of legislation to establish a new tax credit for farmers and ranchers to sequester carbon in agricultural, forest, and range lands. His Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature would conserve 30% of U.S. lands and oceans by 2030 and encourage protection of areas with a high capacity to store carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. To make it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture and storage equipment, Bennet introduced the Carbon Capture Improvement Act.
In addition to Bennet and Carper, cosponsors of the legislation include U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), 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.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of major environmental groups, business groups, and organized labor.