House Democrats Introduce the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Before we can achieve a clean energy economy, we must conceive what it will look like, plan for how to get there, and steadily monitor progress along that path. The 100 Percent Clean Economy Act aims to do just that

There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to Trump’s environmental policies, but there is a House that is pushing back. Part of the push back against Trump’s environmental policies is a recently introduced bill called the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act. The legislation sets a goal of achieving a 100 percent clean energy economy nationwide by 2050, which is defined as net-zero climate pollution in all sectors of the economy. The bill has more than 150 co-sponsors. 

The bill directs federal agencies to use existing authorities to achieve a 100 percent clean economy. It specifically directs the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate agency plans, make recommendations, and report annually on progress toward meeting the goal of a clean economy. An advisory committee would be created if the bill is passed, comprised of stakeholders, to give recommendations on interim goals.

The bill has principles for federal agency action on achieving a clean economy, which includes:

  • Improving public health and environmental outcomes for low-income, rural, communities of color, tribal and indigenous communities, and other communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.
  • Enhancing quality job creation and ensuring fairness and equity for workers and communities who will be affected by transitioning to a 100 percent clean economy.
  • Providing benefits for consumers, small businesses, and rural communities.
  • Preparing communities for the impacts and risks of climate change. 

“Our 100% Clean Economy Act will deliver a bold new deal for our families by building an economy where jobs pay a living wage and we protect our land, our air, and our water for future generations while fighting climate change,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Vice-Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Environmental groups support the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act

Environmental groups support the bill, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Fred Krupp, EDF President, points out that 150 congressional members co-sponsored the bill “because they know it delivers the ambitious but achievable climate goal we need.” He characterizes the bill as one that “articulates a goal focused squarely on reducing the pollution that causes climate change – and allows flexibility in how to meet it.”

“This bold plan harnesses the power and resolve of our nation to confront the growing threat from climate change,” said John Bowman, managing director of Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council: 

“It sends a message that the future belongs to those who invest in clean energy sources. And it sends a message to young people everywhere we won’t abandon you to a world of endlessly rising seas, vanishing species, civil strife and rampant wildfires, storms, and floods.”

Climate change pollution and public health

A coalition of health and medical organizations support the bill and wrote a letter supporting it. The letter characterizes meeting the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as being “essential to protecting public health.” It points out that climate change is “a health emergency” because communities across the U.S. are experiencing air pollution, extreme weather events, and wildfires. 

Climate change will worsen air pollution problems that already exist. Ground-level ozone, which is a key part of smog, is affected by heat and methane emissions, while particulate matter concentrations are affected by wildfire emissions. Rising temperatures and wildfires are both climate change impacts and under a business-as-usual scenario, temperatures will continue to increase and wildfires will become more frequent.

Air pollution is costly. The health-related costs of the current effects of ozone air pollution that exceed national standards are estimated at $6.5 billion nationwide.

What you can do

There is something you can do to support the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act. Send a message to your representative, telling them to support this important bill. 

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