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Home » Congress May Soon Pass The Country’s Most Significant Climate Change Legislation Ever

Congress May Soon Pass The Country’s Most Significant Climate Change Legislation Ever

Congress May Soon Pass The Country's Most Significant Climate Change Legislation Ever

This week may be key for President Biden's ambitious climate goals. Congress is debating measures that are crucial for cutting carbon emissions and meeting U.S. obligations in the Paris climate deal.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Congress may be on the verge of passing the country's most significant climate change legislation ever. But it will have to overcome some powerful opposition first, some of it within the Democratic Party. NPR's Jeff Brady reports that a huge budget package includes measures aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Environmentalists are getting excited.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD, "ALMOST THERE")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: After decades of big pollution liars, climate change deniers and out-of-control fires, we are almost there.

BRADY: This ad from Climate Power is airing on Washington, D.C., television.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD, "ALMOST THERE")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Congress, our window to act is closing. And once it does, it may never open again.

BRADY: Details are still emerging for climate elements of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package Democrats are writing now. Sam Krasnow, with Natural Resources Defense Council, says he's encouraged by the clean energy provisions.

SAM KRASNOW: It will get us to 80% clean by 2030, on the path to 100% clean by 2035.

BRADY: There's a $150 billion clean electricity performance program. It would pay utilities to switch from greenhouse gas-emitting power sources like coal and natural gas to non-emitting sources like wind, solar, nuclear and hydro power. Utilities that convert 4% of their generation to cleaner sources each year over the next decade would get a bonus. That money could not go to profits. It would have to benefit customers, utility employees or go to building more clean power plants. And Krasnow says utilities that do not meet the annual target would face penalties.
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