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House Democrats release select committee report on climate crisis

House Democrats on June 30 released the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s report to Congress on how to address the climate crisis.

The report, which was originally scheduled to be released in March, was pushed back to June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report calls for the U.S. to reach 100 percent, net-zero emissions on an economy-wide basis by 2050.

In addition, it calls for Congress to enact a clean energy standard to achieve net-zero emissions in the electricity sector by 2040 and an energy efficiency resource standard “to smooth out rising electricity demand from electrification and save consumers money on their power bills.”

Congress should extend and expand clean energy tax incentives and grant programs, such as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, to maximize near-term deployment of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and zero-carbon electricity sources, the report said.

“For the longer term, Congress needs to invest in research and development across technologies, but particularly in energy storage. Congress should ensure that low-income communities and communities of color have equitable access to and benefit from these clean energy resources,” the report went on to say.

The report also urges Congress to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop a long-range transmission infrastructure strategy to site more interstate transmission lines in high-priority corridors. “Congress also should direct FERC to remove roadblocks in power markets that slow the growth of electricity generation from clean sources,” the report said.

In the area of energy efficiency, the report said that federal lawmakers should incentivize states and cities to adopt updated model building codes, including net-zero-emission building codes, and establish tax incentives for the construction of net-zero buildings, with the goal of making all new residential and commercial buildings net-zero emissions by 2030. Congress should also require new federal buildings to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 as well, it said.

In the transportation sector, the report said that Congress should expedite deployment of zero-emission technologies in the sectors where they are already available while making new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles as clean as possible.

This should include setting strong greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars, heavy-duty trucks, and aviation; enacting a national sales standard to achieve 100% sales of zero-emission cars by 2035 and heavy-duty trucks by 2040; and providing incentives to build out zero-emission fueling infrastructure across the country, it said.

The report is available here.

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