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An energy bill with bipartisan support was zipping through the Senate, but it ran into a roadblock when President Trump and conservative Republicans blocked an amendment that would have phased out greenhouse gas trapping chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) because the Democrats refused to ban states’ right to pass stricter standards on them.HFCs are used in air conditioners and refrigerants and are known as “super greenhouse gasses” — they were developed to replace a similar chemical refrigerant that was phased out by international agreement because they were causing a hole in the Earth’s ozone layer.
Why This Matters: The White House argues that any such phase-out should be governed by a uniform federal law to provide certainty and consistency across the country, but Congressional Dems claim that this “federal pre-emption” provision is not needed because if the federal law is stringent enough states won’t want to pass tougher laws. Most federal environmental laws contain the type of provision the White House is insisting on — and in the past, Democrats would have agreed because state laws have generally been lax (less protective) than federal ones and citizens across the country deserve to have the same level of environmental protections. But the landscape has changed fundamentally — with more pro-conservation Democrats in control in States and an administration that is rolling back regulations and environmental enforcement. Federalism used to be the rallying cry of conservatives but now it is conservationists who are calling for states’ rights. It is just another way that President Trump has totally upended the “norms” of government. Unfortunately, this dispute over HFCs is holding up a bill that if enacted would increase energy research and development by the government for the first time in a decade and that could have extended tax credits for renewable energy.
A 5-month investigation from E&E News revealed that scientists at General Motors and Ford Motor Co. knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change. As E&E reported, Researchers at both automakers found strong evidence in the 1960s and ’70s that human activity was warming the Earth. A primary culprit was the […]
How do you elect political candidates who will make tackling climate change a priority? That’s the question Caroline Spears and her colleagues sought to answer when they launched the Climate Cabinet Action Fund in 2018, offering tailored climate data, policy ideas, and messaging suggestions to candidates and lawmakers.
Why This Matters: State legislatures play a critical role in crafting and passing policy — to lead on climate and energy policy, paving the way for ambitious national climate action.
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