Democrats unveil first bill toward goal of net-zero emissions by 2050

Democrats unveil first bill toward goal of net-zero emissions by 2050
© Greg Nash

Democrats unveiled the first major piece of legislation in their effort to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with a bill that would first push government agencies to reach the goal.

Dubbed the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act, the bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee the effort which would be undertaken across the government. It tasks each federal agency with using its authority to reach the net-zero goal, using “a substantial change from business-as-usual policies.”

“The Federal Government can and must play a leading role in global efforts to minimize climate change and to mitigate its worst effects. By achieving a 100 percent clean economy by 2050, the United States can take a critical step toward meeting that obligation,” the bill states.

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The bill is the first in what might be several pieces of legislation dedicated to Democrats' goal of reaching a green economy by 2050 — a vision they outlined in July and promised to deliver by the end of the year. 

“We must boldly transition to a 100 percent clean economy. The 100 Percent Clean Economy Act of 2019 will protect public health and our environment; create high-quality green jobs that will strengthen our economy; and mitigate the impacts of climate change for all communities and all generations. Our climate crisis demands immediate action,” said Rep. A. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinVirginia governor seeking to remove Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Five environmental fights to watch in 2020 Virginia lawmakers ask governor to remove state's Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol MORE (D-Va.)  

Each agency must come up with a plan that’s technology neutral, crafting a policy consistent with their goals and authority. 

Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoOvernight Energy: Critics question data behind new Trump water rule | Groups seek more time to comment on Trump environmental rollback | EPA under scrutiny over backlog of toxic waste cleanups Democrats demand plan as EPA hits largest backlog of toxic waste cleanups in 15 years Overnight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans MORE (D-N.Y.) described the bill as setting “a clear science-based target as our true North and directs federal agencies to pursue it. 

The bill has over 150 co-sponsors and the backing of eight national public health and medical organizations.