It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Donate

It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Why Is the Reconciliation Bill Essential for Climate?

In this new edition of Evergreen Explains, we break down why the reconciliation package is key to meeting President Biden's climate commitments.

Joe Biden campaigned and won on a bold vision for a clean energy future, and a commitment to the American people that his administration would make historic progress in the fight against climate change. As President, he pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030—an ambitious target we can meet only with bold and immediate action. 

Now, less than one year into his presidency, Democrats are poised to pass a reconciliation bill that contains the critical investments necessary to make considerable progress on Biden’s climate goals and create millions of good-paying jobs building an equitable and thriving clean energy economy. According to an analysis released by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the reconciliation bill will put us on track to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by 45% by 2030. Combined with further actions from the Biden administration and states, this legislation can help ensure that we meet America’s ambitious international climate commitments and avoid the most devastating climate impacts. But only if Democrats pass the full suite of essential climate investments in the bill.

Blog Post Image

Source: Politico/Office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

The climate crisis isn’t scaling back and neither can we. Communities across the country are reeling from  a summer of record breaking hurricanes, heatwaves, and wildfires—there is no more time to waste. In order to meet our pollution reduction targets, create millions of new clean energy jobs, and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, Democrats must pass the reconciliation bill with the full suite of climate investments laid out by Senator Schumer intact. There can be no more cuts to climate. 

How The Reconciliation Bill Follows Through On Biden’s Commitments

In July, Evergreen released a memo—6 Key Climate Investments that Must Be in Budget Reconciliation—outlining six areas of critical investments in climate, jobs and justice that needed to be included in the budget reconciliation legislation, especially after these items were left out of the bipartisan infrastructure deal. These include:

  • A Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP)

  • Clean Energy Tax Credits

  • Environmental justice investments

  • Greater funding for clean infrastructure and manufacturing

  • A Civilian Climate Corps

  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies 

These investments, paired with additional programs in the reconciliation bill, would put the U.S. on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 45% beneath 2005 levels by 2030 and supercharge America’s transition to an equitable and thriving clean energy future.

Here’s an update on where those investments stand in the reconciliation bill, why they’re critical to fighting the climate crisis, and how their passage will help fulfill the promises President Biden has made to the American people:

The Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) is the Most Impactful Single Climate Policy in Reconciliation. The CEPP is an incentive-based program designed to transition America's power grid to 80% clean electricity by 2030 and put us on the path to 100% clean electricity by 2035. This one policy itself would make the greatest contribution to reducing greenhouse gas pollution to help meet President Biden’s Paris Agreement commitment to at least a 50% reduction by 2030. The program utilizes a carrot and stick approach, with federal investments in electric utilities to drive year-over-year growth in their clean energy portfolio coupled with financial penalties to ensure that utilities don’t fall behind in their transition to carbon-free power sources. Evergreen has previously detailed how passage of a CEPP can create millions of new good-paying jobs, eliminate poisonous air pollution, and reduce utility bills for ratepayers across the country. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) has championed the CEPP in reconciliation. And the policy is expected to be introduced first in the House, in the Energy & Commerce Committee. 

Robust Funding for Clean Energy Tax Credits Will Be Key To Driving Pollution Reductions And Growing The Clean Energy Economy. These must include ten-year tax incentives for renewable energy generation, electric vehicles, transmission and energy storage, advanced energy manufacturing, clean buildings, and industrial carbon capture, as well as emerging technologies like clean hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels. The credits should include proposed changes to make them maximally accessible and equitable, and ensure they promote good-paying union jobs and drive investments in disadvantaged communities. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, who has championed a robust package of clean energy tax credits through his Clean Energy For America Act, is leading the fight for equitable and effective clean energy tax credits in Democrats’ reconciliation bill. And Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has led the effort to provide new federal rebates for appliance electrification and clean buildings.

Additional Funding For Clean Infrastructure & Manufacturing Is Essential To Cement American Leadership In The Clean Energy Future. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) proposed robust investments in transportation infrastructure, buildings and housing, and clean and competitive manufacturing that were designed to support communities, create jobs, and reduce carbon pollution. Unfortunately, those investments were stripped away almost entirely in negotiations for the bipartisan infrastructure deal—which is why Democrats must prioritize these investments in reconciliation. For example, the creation of a Clean Energy Technology Accelerator, aka Green Bank, in reconciliation will provide vital low-cost financing for clean energy infrastructure projects in market segments in which the private sector is underinvesting. And funding provided to the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office—including its Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program—will help drive clean and competitive domestic manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles, advanced batteries, renewable energy and more.

Establishing A Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) Will Give Americans The Opportunity To Fight The Climate Crisis In Their Own Communities And Build A Climate-Ready Workforce. An updated version of the iconic New Deal era Civilian Conservation Corps, a 21st century CCC is one of the most popular provisions in President Biden’s Build Back Better Budget, especially among young people. Senator Ed Markey, who has championed the climate corps in Congress, has indicated that the reconciliation bill is likely to allocate robust investment for the CCC, and it is essential that Congress provides sufficient funding to ensure that every enrollee in the corps is paid a living wage and receives full benefits, including healthcare and an educational award. 

>> Related: 5 Reasons to Love the Civilian Climate Corps <<

Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies Will Free Up Federal Dollars For Additional Climate Investments AND Reduce Emissions. Currently, the federal government hands hundreds of billions every year to fossil fuel corporations, through both direct payments and indirect support for the industry. This money makes unprofitable projects profitable, and allows these companies to pollute more—causing death, disease, and catastrophic climate disasters. In budget reconciliation Congressional Democrats must seize the opportunity to end taxpayer subsidization of corporate pollution by closing these loopholes. In addition to changes to the tax code, Senator Chris Van Hollen’s Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act would require polluters to pay for some of the damage they have caused—this proposal is gaining momentum and should be included in reconciliation. Senate Democrats are also expected to include a methane pollution fee in reconciliation, to end the free ride enjoyed by methane polluters and confront the greatest short-term source of accelerating climate change. 

Democrats Can’t Afford To Cut Climate Investments 

With the full set of climate investments in the Build Back Better Budget, President Biden and Congressional Democrats can deliver the clean energy economic recovery agenda that helped propel them to victory in 2020 and put the U.S. on track to fulfill our international climate commitments. In the weeks ahead, Democrats must hold the line against fossil fuel lobbying efforts and bad faith tactics attempting to whittle down the ambition of the reconciliation bill and pass the climate investments we need to launch a thriving and equitable clean energy future. Anything less is unacceptable.

Call your senator today to tell them you support transformational climate investments in the reconciliation bill and they should, too. Click here to get a script, and call 202-318-1885 to reach your senator and make your voice heard.