Statement: Bold climate bill aims for zero carbon emissions by midcentury

Congressional leaders release updated economy-wide climate legislation
For Immediate Release.

WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released the new CLEAN Future Act on Tuesday. This comes after a year of input from stakeholders nationwide, following the release of a version of this bill in 2020. The legislation lays out a path for the United States to reach economy-wide emissions reduction targets that would allow the country to hit net zero emissions by 2050. This new legislation also sets an interim goal for the country to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 50 percent below 2005 levels by no later than 2030. These science-based targets aim to keep global warming below 1.5 additional degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change.  

The CLEAN Future Act takes a broad approach to tackling climate change, including provisions that address energy, transportation, manufacturing and plastic pollution. It features a clean electricity standard that would require 80 percent clean electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035. It also authorizes $2.5 billion a year over 10 years for electric school bus grants; establishes a $100 billion clean energy accelerator to help cities, states, communities and business transition to clean energy, to be combined with matching local funds; implements a national bottle bill; puts a temporary pause on the permitting of new and expanded plastic production and related facilities; and strengthens energy efficiency standards.

Reps. Frank Pallone, Paul Tonko and Bobby Rush released a detailed memo summarizing the scope of the CLEAN Future Act. 

Wendy Wendlandt, President of Environment America, issued the following statement: 

“Global warming affects every single American, and we are already seeing significant life-threatening impacts every year from it. If we continue to spew planet-warming pollution into our atmosphere, it will only get worse.

"For several years, states have been the trailblazers when it comes to clean energy, with seven states having now enacted laws requiring 100 percent clean electricity. A national clean electricity standard, paired with significant investments in renewable power technology, as is proposed in this bill, would help accelerate the nationwide shift away from fossil fuel sources that leave environmental damage in their wake. 

“We need a stable climate to protect the present and the future. We’re excited to work with Chairman Frank Pallone and subcommittee chairs Paul Tonko and Bobby Rush, and all the members of the committee, and are particularly pleased the authors have included provisions on electric school buses, energy efficiency and investments in local clean energy transition programs, all of which enjoy broad bipartisan public support. Climate change knows no party and we are pleased to work with all to ensure this bill provides the momentum we need to meet that goal.”

Faye Park, President of U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement:

“A healthy climate is key to a healthy and safe future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. We must make smarter choices now in order to not only preserve a livable climate, but also protect the public health and make the U.S. more energy sustainable.  

“The CLEAN Future Act lays the groundwork for an America that meets these goals. It invests in renewable energy and electric school buses for our kids. It implements proven policies, like energy efficiency standards. The bill also recognizes the role plastic and other disposable products play in increasing emissions, and includes proven solutions like the bottle bill. It sets the kind of bold and achievable interim and long-term targets we need to tackle the climate crisis. 

“A healthier, safer future is possible, but only if we work together. We look forward to working with Congress to make this vision a reality.”