NEW BILL PROPOSES U.S. TRANSITION TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY BY 2050
Four U.S. Senators just created a new proposed bill that, if enacted, would transition the United States to 100% clean energy by 2050.
The “100 by ’50 Act” (also known as S. 987) has as its primary sponsor U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-oregon, and with co-sponsors U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, I-vermont, Edward J. Markey, D-massachusetts and Cory Booker, D-new Jersey. It is the first legislation of any kind to propose and deal with the end of the use of fossil fuels in the United Sates.
The act outlines a high-level approach to making this happen, including the following 7 elements, as named in the bill:
Greening the Grid: All fossil fuel electricity is to be completely phased out by 2050 and replaced with clean and renewable supplies to replace it. A combination of steps requiring the shutdown of all fossil fuel electricity use would be balanced by major investments in clean energy, grid infrastructure to distribute the power, and power storage systems.
Electrifying the Energy Economy: Transportation and heating systems would be powered from a national renewable energy grid, national zero-emission vehicle standards would be put in place, a carbontaxing authority would be put in place for commercial aviation, maritime and rail, and major investments would be sponsored for zero-emission vehicles and zero-emission heating systems.
Clean and Renewable Energy for All: In making the transition, all parties would work together to ensure that low-income and disadvantaged communities share in the benefits of the transition. Grants would be made available for clean energy installation, energy efficiency implementations, access to public transportation, and for job training in the new clean energy sector.
Just Transition for Workers: Since this major a change in power use will cause job disruptions, a major part of the plan would be to help transition those who work in fossil fuels, both to new jobs and in retirement considerations.
Ending New Fossil Fuel Investments: Just as existing fossil fuel use is being shut down, so too must all approvals for new fossil fuel projects (such as major pipeline projects) also be stopped. Fossil fuel subsidies must also be eliminated.
Ensuring American Competitiveness: As the transition proceeds, the U.S. government will be allowed to impose a carbon tariff on imported carbon-intensive products. The purpose is to make sure energy-intensive U.S. products maintain a level playing field.
Mobilizing American Resources: New sources of financial funding, including instruments such as climate bonds, would be made available to support investments in every aspect of the energy transition. Planning grants would also be made available to organizations, communities, tribes and states to help them develop their own 100% clean energy transition plans.
The bill has just been introduced and is currently going through the initial stages of examination and has been referred to the Committee on Finance. It will likely take some time, possibly years, for a final form to be passed. But the vision is certainly a strong one that deserves support from across the country.
For those interested, the full bill is available for review here.