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The CLEAN Future Act Part 7: Economy-wide Policies

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The CLEAN Future Act aims to set goals for the U.S. to become a carbon-free economy by 2050 with economy-wide policies. 

These policies fall into 4 subtopics.

Plans for States addressing climate change.

What are they?

One of the goals of the CLEAN Future Act is to have U.S. states participate more strongly in addressing and preventing climate change. By enacting a state-federal partnership, this will help states determine how they can best achieve environmental standards Congress would set for them.

How will economy-wide policies work?

The CLEAN Future Act would set a national climate standard for net-zero emissions for all states to follow. This would give each state a net-zero goal to accomplish by 2050. Congress would allow each state to determine the best way that they can achieve or exceed that based on the resources at their disposal.

How would the states enact economy wide policies?

Each state would develop their own plan which they would submit to the EPA, which would either approve or disapprove depending on how closely their goals align with the EPA’s. States have the option to work independently or with other states to achieve their goals of net-zero GHG emissions. Once they achieve net-zero status, they have to maintain that level or move below it.

What Economy-wide policies would lead U.S. states in the right direction?

The CLEAN Future Act would direct the EPA to develop model control strategies. These strategies can be used by other states in their net-zero plans. These strategies include:

  • A climate pollution phaseout control program
  • Performance-based fuel standards, taken from California’s emissions vehicle standards
  • A carbon removal program
  • Deploying demand-side energy management programs, which is the modification of consumer demand for energy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_demand_management)

What would happen if states do not submit or receive approval for a economy policy climate plan?

Should a state fail to submit or obtain approval of a state climate plan, in-state GHG emissions sources (i.e., those with emissions greater than 25,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent per year) would be automatically subject to a backstop carbon fee. If a state misses an interim standard or the 2050 net-zero standard, the bill includes increasingly stringent, mandatory emission reduction requirements that the states must implement until they meet the applicable standard.”

https://www.circleofblue.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/CLEAN-Future-Act-Memo_01.08.20_FINAL.pdf

the CLEAN Future Act: Pt 7 economy wide policies
a mess of coins

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2 The implementation of a national climate bank

What would a national climate bank do?

This first-of-its-kind program would help states, communities, and companies transition to a clean economy. This “National Climate Bank” would utilize private and public investment to provide funds for each sector that’s highlighted in the CLEAN Future Act. The bill also wants to prioritize funds for communities affected by climate change, previously outlined in the environmental justice section of the bill. The National Climate Bank will be required to ensure that investments are accompanied by labor protections.

How would the National Climate Bank work?

This bank would be built on the successful reputations of state and local green banks across the U.S. Some examples of these banks include the Connecticut Green Bank, NY Green Bank, Hawaii Green Energy Market Securitization, and the California Lending for Energy and Environmental Needs. The definition of a green bank is “a public, quasi-public or non-profit entity established specifically to facilitate private investment into domestic low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure.” https://greenbanknetwork.org/what-is-a-green-bank-2/

the CLEAN Future Act: Pt 7 Economy wide policies

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3 Having the Work Force transition to a Clean Economy

How would clean energy affect the workforce?

Before drafting the bill, members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce participated in a series of hearings highlighting the effects of deep-carbonization. Those that presented at these hearings stressed the importance of protecting workers and EITE (Energy-Intensive, Trade Exposed) industries when crafting policies for climate change. They noted that climate action is a great opportunity for the CLEAN Future Act to direct the U.S. to being a leader in clean energy innovation.

How would this be done?

The CLEAN Future Act would incorporate the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act that was introduced in 2019 but didn’t receive a vote. The bill (1) renames the office as the Office of Economic Impact, Diversity, and Employment; and (2) directs the office to establish a comprehensive program to improve education and training for jobs in energy-related industries, with emphasis on increasing the number of skilled individuals from underrepresented groups trained to work in those jobs.”

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1315/summary

How else does the CLEAN Future Act protect workers?

The bill would require funded projects for buildings be built or maintained using iron, steel and manufacturing goods that were made in the U.S. It also guarantees that those employed on projects underwritten by CLEAN would be paid no less than the local wage. CLEAN would also federal agencies to keep project labor agreements in mind when awarding contracts.

The CLEAN Future Act Pt 7: Economy wide policies
A Security tab on a computer screen.

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4 Having the U.S. implement Climate Change into National Security Planning

The CLEAN Future Act would ensure that the federal government would consider the impacts of climate change when policies for national security are underway. Also, a Climate and National Security Working Group would be created under this bill. This group would be responsible for developing an action plan based on dealing with climate change and national security. The bill would also charge federal agencies to address climate change in their future plans.

I hope you enjoyed this series on the CLEAN Future Act and learned a bit about the possible future of renewable energy for the U.S.

We’ve covered all aspects of what the Committee for Energy and Commerce is planning for improving our wellbeing, but that’s just the beginning. However, it’s important to always stay educated about renewable energy and how our governments will implement them in society.

If you want to learn a bit more here’s some resources for you to enjoy!

https://www.circleofblue.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/CLEAN-Future-Act-Memo_01.08.20_FINAL.pdf

https://energycommerce.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/ec-leaders-introduce-the-clean-future-act-comprehensive-legislation-to

https://www.c2es.org/content/renewable-energy/#:~:text=Renewable%20energy%20is%20the%20fastest,wind%20power%20(6.6%20percent)

https://www.energy.gov/science-innovation/clean-energy

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