Democrats are still looking for ways to strengthen climate provisions in President Biden’s Environment and Social Policy Bill just days before it is due to appear at the United Nations Climate Summit, which starts Sunday in Glasgow, and some lawmakers say that they have not abandoned this law. insist on including a tax on carbon dioxide pollution, which causes the planet to warm.
The White House is urging lawmakers to agree on the framework of the law before the president meets with other world leaders at the summit. Mr Biden hopes to point to the bill as proof that he can deliver on his ambitious promise that the United States will cut global warming pollution by 50 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
As it stands, the passage of the bill, which is expected to include an estimated $ 500 billion in climate and environmental spending, will bring the United States closer to halfway towards that goal, according to an analysis by the independent independent agency Rhodium Group. policy research firm.
The package should include about $ 300 billion in tax breaks to promote renewable energies and electric vehicles. Until recently, Mr. Biden hoped it would also include a $ 150 billion program to pay utility companies to shut down fossil-fueled power plants and replace them with wind and solar generators, and punish those who fail to do so. does. The combination of this program and tax breaks would allow Biden to make a compelling statement in Glasgow that the United States is on track to meet its climate goals.
The clean electricity program was terminated at the urging of Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat whose state is a major coal and gas producer. But green Democrats are still trying to include other programs to reduce emissions.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and environmentalist, said on Tuesday that once Democrats agree on a general framework for the bill, they will then develop an accompanying “emissions framework.” Mr. Whitehouse described a plan in which Democrats will commit to maximizing emission reductions in the bill, and then add policies to legislation to achieve those reductions.
“Once we figure out the costs and ROI, and then when we know what we need to do to reduce emissions, then the serious work of charging carbon will begin,” said Mr. Whitehouse.
But the Democrats are left with problems that need every vote in their assembly to get the bill through the Senate. Mr Manchin has expressed serious doubts about the carbon tax, and the White House fears that such a levy could lead to accusations that Biden is breaking his promise not to raise taxes for the middle class.
Democrats seem to have rallied around other provisions, including $ 13.5 billion to build charging stations for electric vehicles, $ 9 billion to make the grid more suitable for wind and solar power, and $ 17.5 billion to cut emissions from federal buildings. It will also likely provide $ 40 billion to promote sustainable agriculture and forestry programs, $ 30 billion for a green bank to help communities finance renewable energy projects, and $ 10 billion to help rural electricity co-operatives meet costs. the transition from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy.