Kerry: Industry should convince Congress on climate action
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Monday that American industrial leaders should be working to convince members of Congress to take action on climate change.
“I think one of the things you could really help us with is the Congress of the United States,” Kerry told Warner Baxter, the executive chairman of Ameren and the vice chairman of the Edison Electric Institute, during the 6th Global Electrification Forum.
“There are still too many deniers, there are too many doubters, there are people who don’t often see the economic upside,” Kerry continued.
Few members of Congress have outright denied the reality of climate change, but Republican members have frequently downplayed it as an existential threat or presented the economic fallout of aggressive action as the greater threat. Some, like Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), have also falsely claimed it does not exist or pose a threat.
Industry leaders, Kerry told Baxter, “have particular credibility, because you’re huge employers. You create new products and you’re keeping the engine of our economy moving.”
“I think if you will speak to the brightness of the future on the other side of this, that would have a profound impact on our ability to get the production tax credit, investment tax credit, to do the things we need to do,” he added. “And who knows, maybe even ultimately, there’ll be a conversation about pricing carbon, which would have a profound impact on our ability to leap forward.”
The Biden administration’s most ambitious climate agenda items were part of the Build Back Better package, which Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) seemingly killed in December when he said he would not support it. The package included $292 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy.
While Manchin has expressed support for the climate aspects of the bill and suggested he would back them separately, he specifically expressed opposition to a $4,500 tax credit for electric vehicles built by union labor. The West Virginia Democrat called this provision “wrong” and “pick[ing] winners and losers” during an appearance at a non-union Toyota factory in Buffalo, W.Va., last November.
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