Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., have introduced comprehensive climate-change legislation that would also benefit renewable energy.
Under the provisions of the bill, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund what the senators call ‘historic investments’ in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies, such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
The legislation aims to triple the research and development budget for the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, as well as to create a Sustainable Technologies Finance program, which, through public-private partnerships, would leverage $500 billion for investments in renewable energy, biofuels, energy efficiency and other green initiatives. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.
"The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their projections in the past were wrong – that, in fact, the crisis facing our planet is much more serious than they had previously believed," Sanders said at a news conference in the Senate Environment Committee hearing room.
The proposal was drafted as two measures: the Climate Protection Act and the Sustainable Energy Act.
Boxer is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Sanders sits on the Environment Committee and also is a member of the Senate Energy Committee.