This week, California Congressman Ted Lieu introduced the first major climate bill of the 116th Congress. In a statement, Lieu said that:
“There is no threat greater to our nation’s security than climate change. Failing to protect our planet will endanger the lives of millions, hurt our economy and jeopardize our children’s future. The wildfires in my district were worsened by drought conditions and are a sliver of what is in store if we fail to act. My bill is bold because we need to be bold on climate change. Now that Democrats are in the majority, we can and will be more aggressive on curbing the impact of climate change and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.”
The bill will focus on getting America to 100% renewable energy use by 2035 and will also aggressively target greenhouse gases by requiring such emissions to be 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also creates a national energy efficiency standard. As Zoya Teirstein of Grist reminded us, this won’t be the first climate bill and a clutch of other progressives plan on introducing similar bills in this new, bluer Congress. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will likely soon offer legislation that also reflects the influence of the Green New Deal, and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will probably float a carbon tax during this Congressional session.
Why This Matters: While there’s a very slim chance that this bill will be passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump it nonetheless signals that climate and renewable energy issues are back on the agenda in the House of Representatives. Reaching a national goal of 100% renewable energy is also echoed in the Green New Deal and hopefully, Democrats begin addressing the goal on the campaign trail heading into 2020. Debating the feasibility of “100% Renewables” is now a moot point, it’s now become a political rallying cry much as “Build the Wall” has for the right.