U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has introduced America’s Clean Future Fund Act, a bill aimed at spurring job creation by investing in a clean energy economy, achieving critical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating a fair transition for workers from declining energy sectors and renewing the U.S.’ commitment to technology, innovation and a sustainable future.
The bill would provide $50 billion in its first year for investments in clean energy projects to help stimulate the economy while guiding the U.S.’ transition to a zero-carbon emissions economy. The funding would also provide protections to consumers, support to workers in vulnerable industries and assistance to communities most affected by climate change.
“We can address climate change and spur economic growth in our communities at the same time, ensuring we don’t leave anyone behind in the process,” says Durbin.
“We must work together on a bold vision to combat climate change – which remains the existential threat of our lifetime – so we can pass on a livable and clean planet to our children. This bill is one piece of a comprehensive solution required to combat and protect against climate change,” he adds.
According to the most recent National Climate Assessment, climate change is expected to lead to the loss of American lives, infrastructure and property. It is also expected to slow the rate of economic growth this century. The global average temperature could increase by 9°F or more by the end of the century. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report calls for “rapid and far-reaching” transitions to limit the damage of climate change by reducing CO2 emissions.
Durbin’s proposed bill contains the following provisions:
- Climate Change Finance Corp. Establish an independent federal agency to finance and support investment and job creation in clean energy projects, climate resilience, and research, development and deployment
- Transition Assistance for Impacted Communities. Provide grants to state and local governments for transition assistance from carbon-intensive industries and employees, and to the frontline and environmental justice communities
- Rebates to Individuals and Refunds for Carbon Capture. Provide payments to low- and middle-income individuals and facilities that capture, store and/or utilize carbon, as well as to farmers that adopt verifiable carbon sequestration or reduction practices
- A Delayed Onset Fee on Carbon. Once the U.S. economy is no longer in economic turmoil due to the current pandemic (but no later than 2023), institute a carbon fee of $25 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent, applied upstream (and to non-fossil fuel high emission facilities). The fee would increase by $10 per year above the consumer price index
Photo: Dick Durbin