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Politics Dozens of Democrats call for spending bill to pass 'climate test'

20:40  22 october  2021
20:40  22 october  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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More than 60 congressional Democrats are calling for the party's massive spending bill, which is still under negotiation, to pass a "climate test" with strong emissions reductions ahead of a major global climate conference in Scotland.

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) © Greg Nash Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)

"Before COP26, it is critical to secure agreement from all relevant parties on a Build Back Better deal that meets the 'climate test' by achieving the scientifically-necessary emissions reduction goal while creating good union jobs and advancing environmental, racial, and economic justice," wrote the lawmakers in a letter to President Biden that was led by Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.).

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  If the U.S. Spends Big on Climate, the Rest of the World Might Follow If the U.S. Spends Big on Climate, the Rest of the World Might Follow“It seems to me quite shocking,” says Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland who now works on climate issues as the chair of the Elders. To have West Virginia’s continued reliance on coal “holding up a really important bill for the United States is frustrating to observe.

Their climate test includes delivering "measurable emissions reductions," while the letter specifically raised concerns about the potential exclusion of a Clean Electricity Performance Program - which would have sought to shift the country's electric production to mostly clean energy sources through a mix of grants and fines on power providers.

The lawmakers said that if this program is not included in the final deal, "we will need your unwavering support for significant additional investments in climate priorities to close the resulting emissions gap."

They also called for the inclusion of several programs - many of which were previously proposed as part of the deal, including expanding access to "union-built" electric vehicles, creating a conservation jobs program called the Civilian Climate Corps and getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies.

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  Biden sees American credibility on the line as he races to lock down climate action ahead of Glasgow President Joe Biden wanted the stakes to be perfectly clear when he sat down with nine liberal Democrats in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss ongoing legislative negotiations. © Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders at the East Room of the White House April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030.

The letter comes amid reports that Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va) opposition to the clean electricity program is expected to result in its exclusion from Democrats' spending bill. With the Senate's 50-50 split, Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote to get their bill across the finish line.

In the wake of that news, many Democrats have pledged to look for alternatives and continue to bolster climate action.

Biden, during a CNN town hall on Thursday night, said that nothing had been formally agreed to, but if the electricity program is out, he said he'll look for other ways to make the climate investment.

"The negotiation is....if we don't do it in terms of the electric grid piece, what we'll do is give me that $150 billion. I'm going to add it to be able to do other things that allow me to do things that don't directly affect the electric grid in the way that there's a penalty but allow me to spend the money to set new technologies in place," he said, according to a transcript of the event.

There is pressure on Washington to get the deal done ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, where countries will negotiate the future of climate action, in order to show that the U.S. is serious about its own commitments.

Joe Biden wants America to lead the world against the climate crisis. That goal faces a big test this week. .
President Joe Biden's ambitions to lead the world in slowing the planet's warming will be tested on two continents this week as he travels to Scotland for the most important climate talks in years, while back home lawmakers come closer to making his visions a reality. © Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of a meeting about the global supply chain, during the G20 Summit at the Roma Convention Center La Nuvola on October 31, 2021, in Rome, Italy.

usr: 26
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