Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorHillicon Valley — Feds issue Thanksgiving cybersecurity warning Democrats press Facebook over 'inconsistency' on ad targeting for teens House climate panel chair: 'We just don't have any more time to waste' MORE (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the select committee on the climate crisis, is sounding the alarm regarding climate change in the U.S., contending that Democrats must pass their multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill because “we don’t have any more time to waste.”
Castor, during an interview with The Guardian published Thursday, said the U.S has to “act now” on climate change “or else we’re condemning our children and future generations to a really horrendous time.”
President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE, who is slated to attend an international climate summit in Glasgow later this month, has made combating climate change a key focus of his administration, vowing to cut emissions in half by 2030.
Congressional Democrats are now looking to achieve part of Biden’s climate goals in its multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package, but internal party disagreements may stymie those efforts.
The Clean Electricity Payment Program, a major initiative that would incentivize utilities to transition to clean sources of energy through grants and fines, will likely be removed from the reconciliation package because of opposition from moderate Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season MORE (D-W.Va.).
The program, which seeks to cut emissions from U.S. electricity production by 80 percent before the decade ends, is considered one of the most central provisions in the package’s efforts to address climate change.
Castor told the Guardian that this past summer, which was marked by heatwaves, wildfires and hurricanes, made Americans aware of the threat posed by climate change.
“When you have farmers whose crops or livestock have been flooded out or dropping from an extreme heat, or wildfires are burning through your town, or your electric grid isn’t resilient and people die in Texas because of a cold snap, that’s a wake-up call,” Castor said.
“And I think now people are really looking at policymakers and asking, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ ” she added.
The Florida Democrat did, however, say that passage of the reconciliation package will not be enough for the country to achieve its climate goals.
“We’ll have a lot more to do,” Castor said. Even if we pass the Build Back Better Act as it is, that doesn’t really get us to net zero by 2050, which is the goal.”
The climate crisis panel chairwoman predicted that as time progresses more Republicans will support climate initiatives, specifically pointing to the jobs they will create.
“As clean energy grows in districts across the country, you’ll see more Republicans finally understanding it creates jobs and is less costly for the folks they represent,” Castor said.
“That’s kind of the only pathway out of the trap they’ve gotten themselves into – to talk about climate but not do anything about it,” she added.