Overnight Energy: House Dem to offer measure backing Paris climate deal | Former Federal Reserve chiefs call for carbon tax | Watchdog urges agencies to update climate guidance

Overnight Energy: House Dem to offer measure backing Paris climate deal | Former Federal Reserve chiefs call for carbon tax | Watchdog urges agencies to update climate guidance
© Greg Nash

HOUSE DEM TO OFFER MEASURE BACKING PARIS CLIMATE DEAL: A House Democrat is working with his colleagues to introduce a non-binding measure to support the Paris climate agreement.

Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump MORE's (D-Calif.) resolution, if it gets a vote in the full House, would be a rebuke to President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's 2017 decision to pull out of the climate pact.

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Depending on the timing, it could be the first major action House Democrats take to push back against Trump's environmental policies since they took over the chamber's majority earlier this month.

Huffman hasn't gotten any assurances from Democratic leadership on whether the chamber would vote on his resolution, but said he's hopeful the vote can happen by Earth Day.

"It feels like this is a sweet spot on something we can do early in this Congress that sends an important message, that will be strongly passed out of the House," Huffman told reporters Thursday.

He said he hasn't finalized wording yet for the resolution.

"We're just getting started, but I'm getting an enormous amount of positive feedback from colleagues."

Huffman said a number of Democrats have agreed to support the resolution -- along with at least one Republican -- but he declined to name them.

He said the resolution would be a good start to Democrats' efforts to push back on Trump, but that it should be followed by other legislative actions, too.

"Now, let's be clear, we've got to do a lot more than just a concurrent resolution to stay in the Paris agreement. That's an important message, but it's not all we need to do," he said.

But given that Republicans control the Senate and the White House, House Democrats can't do much more than a non-binding resolution.

The Paris agreement was written in 2015, with nearly 200 nations signing on. The efforts to come to the agreement were largely driven by then-President Obama.

Read more here.

 

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ECONOMISTS THROW SUPPORT BEHIND CARBON TAX: Four former Federal Reserve chairs from both parties joined with a group of leading economists in endorsing a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the funds to taxpayers.

Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenPowell told Congress Fed is preparing for economic 'damage' from climate change Senate needs to stand up to Trump's Nixonian view of the Fed The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for Mueller report MORE, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, along with dozens of former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers and Nobel Laureate economists, signed on to an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday evening laying out principles for a carbon "dividend" plan that they would support.

"By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future," they wrote.

"To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates," the piece continued.

The tax should increase annually until carbon emissions fall to a desirable level, they said.

The piece was organized by the Climate Leadership Council, a group formed in 2017 to push a carbon tax and dividend plan.

The plan's most prominent supporters are former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz. But it also has the backing of big businesses, oil companies and prominent former Republican politicians, among others.

The group is trying to get GOP lawmakers onboard with its climate plan. Republicans in recent years have generally opposed proposals to punish carbon emitters, arguing that it would be too costly and hamper economic growth.

In a statement to The Hill, Baker said the economists' opinion piece is a significant step forward for the carbon tax plan.

Read more here.

 

GAO REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR MORE CLIMATE CHANGE GUIDELINES: A Government Accountability Office report released Thursday found that multiple agencies need to update their guidance on the links between climate change and human migration.

The report found that the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Department of Defense hasn't focused on the link between climate change and migration in a substantive way. The State Department last identified migration as a risk in one of its climate change risk assessments in early 2017, the GAO found.

"This may prevent it from identifying and addressing climate change as a factor in human migration. We recommended State provide its staff with this guidance," the GAO wrote.

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Previously, a fiscal 2016 presidential memorandum required agencies to develop implementation plans to identify the potential impact of climate change on human mobility. A fiscal 2014 executive order also required agencies to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Both executive orders were rescinded in 2017 under Trump.

"The three agencies have been involved in climate change related activities but none were specifically focused on the nexus with global migration," the report found.

Read the report here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Judge blames deadly California wildfires on PG&E's uninsulated power conductors

-Colorado governor wants to accelerate the dominance of electric vehicles

-'Blockbuster' storm heads east, could drop 40 inches of snow. Then an Arctic blast will freeze 200 million.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories...

-House Dem to offer measure backing Paris climate deal

-Former Federal Reserve chairs, economists, back carbon tax

-Over 12,000 Belgian students skip school for climate protest