Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Special Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released a comprehensive report on the climate crisis titled “The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People.”
The new report, which comes after dozens of hearings, meetings and input from experts, labor unions, mayors, environmental justice leaders and native communities, among others, details how bold climate action from Congress can create millions of new jobs, grow the American economy, and improve people’s lives across the country.
The Committee’s report calls on Congress to:
- Reduce U.S. emissions rapidly to achieve 100% global net-zero emissions no later than 2050;
- Stimulate economic growth by increasing federal spending on climate action to at least 2% of GDP annually — and ensure that at least 40% of the benefits from these investments help communities of color and low-income, de-industrialized, and disadvantaged communities; and
- Create at least 10 million new jobs.
The report highlights solar’s role in the climate revolution specifically, saying, “Investing in clean technologies pays for itself in the long run, but many families cannot cover the upfront cost. Congress can fix this problem, as it has before. In the 1930s, the U.S. government massively increased home ownership by creating institutions that made affordable mortgages possible. Federal action can and should do the same for solar panels, energy retrofits, electric vehicles and clean technology — and this time around, do so in a way that ensures all Americans benefit.”
“The climate crisis is not some distant threat. It is here now, and it will be catastrophic if we don’t strike back immediately. Over the next few decades, climate change will affect every part of American life: our health, our economy, our national security, even our geography. Democrats are committed to working — decisively and aggressively — to avoid the steep human and economic costs of a worsening climate crisis, and to guide the transition to a low carbon economy,” said Leader Schumer.
“Our committee stitched together a political coalition across demographic, geographic and ideological boundaries,” said Senator Schatz. “We don’t have to keep losing on climate — the work we’ve done shows that we can unite Americans and finally get this done.”
“A comprehensive federal response to climate change is more urgently needed than ever before. Racism and inequality put more Black, Brown and Indigenous lives at risk from climate change-driven disasters, and every year brings new ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ events and record-breaking weather. At the same time, grassroots momentum for action is reaching new heights, calling for climate justice that brings jobs, opportunity, and equity to all. We have the know-how and the solutions, many of which are laid out in this report and which were presented to the Special Committee by expert witnesses. Now, we need to respond to this urgency and enact them,” said Senator Markey.
“Today’s report from the Senate Climate Crisis Committee outlines a substantive path towards a renewable energy economy grounded in science and based on proven policy tools. Pairing a national clean energy standard with an emissions-based technology-neutral tax credit and effective carbon pricing is a winning formula for decarbonizing the power sector. Furthermore, the report’s call for increased investment in interstate transmission would at long last help deliver a 21st century ‘Macro Grid’ capable of spurring economic development, creating good-paying jobs, cleaning up the environment, and lowering costs for consumers across the nation. We commend Chair Schatz and the rest of the Committee for their thought leadership on this report, and look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to advance these critical climate and clean energy priorities into law.”
The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is affiliated with the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, was established in March 2019 and was tasked with investigating, holding hearings and issuing findings on the economic and national security consequences of climate change and how climate action presents significant opportunities for jobs, public health and the economy. Since March 2019, the committee held 10 public hearings, convened 10 in-depth meetings with experts, and connected with a broad array of constituencies — in person and through targeted outreach.
News item from the Senate Democrats