February 11, 2020

Senators Hirono, Carper Introduce Bill Requiring Net-Zero U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and 31 of their colleagues to introduce the Clean Economy Act, legislation that requires the United States to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050. 

“The devastating consequences of climate change in Hawaii are clear, and that is why we were the first state in the country to commit to achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2045, which includes 100% renewable power. The Clean Economy Act spurs similar bold action across the country by setting a goal of achieving net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas production by 2050. The bill also requires a focus on public health, innovative and equitable access to worker training, and enhancing America’s global competitiveness, all of which will be essential to address the broad impacts of climate change,” Senator Hirono said.

The United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, along with other leading climate scientists, warn of the catastrophic consequences if global temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Recent reports from the UN warn that global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to date has not been sufficient to keep global temperatures below that threshold.

The Clean Economy Act responds to these concerns by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find a path for America to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with minimal cost while maintaining public health and workforce training as priorities. The bill requires the EPA and other agencies to use existing tools to meet this standard in partnership with state, local, and private climate plans, and requires benchmarks for climate targets in 2025, 2030, and 2040. Other federal agencies are also required to work with the EPA to meet this standard.

“The Clean Economy Act will create healthier and more equitable communities, while growing our competitiveness. Its goals are consistent with the State of Hawaii’s own sustainability goals for clean energy transformation in the Aloha+ challenge, and I thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in moving the country quickly toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions,” Lea Hong, Hawaii State Director for The Trust for Public Land said.

"The Sierra Club of Hawaii applauds Senator Hirono's enthusiastic support of the Clean Economy Act as an important means to address the Climate Crisis. Clean energy innovation in Hawaii has demonstrated that the goals of the Clean Economy Act are achievable and will improve the economy and the environment," Colin Yost, Volunteer Chair of the Sierra Club of Hawaii said. 

“Hawaii has been helping lead the way to a 100% clean, carbon-neutral future, and now our entire nation needs to rise to this challenge before it’s too late. The science is clear that the clock’s ticking on climate catastrophe, yet this administration continues to wage its war on our planet’s future on behalf of the dirty energy sources of the past. Senator Hirono’s legislation would give our nation a fighting chance to move to the kind of equitable and just clean energy economy we need to pass a healthy planet on to future generations. We're grateful for her efforts and look forward to working with her and her colleagues to ensure it passes,” Isaac Moriwake, Managing Attorney of the Earthjustice Mid-Pacific Office said.

The legislation is supported by 31 other senators, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The Clean Economy Act is endorsed by the United Steelworkers, Utility Workers Union of America, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers, American Rivers, BlueGreen Alliance, Center for American Progress, Clean Water Action, Climate Reality Project, Defend Our Future, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Green the Church, Hispanic Access Foundation, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, Moms Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Trust for Public Land, Union of Concerned Scientists, Voices for Progress, Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, and others.

Senator Hirono has called for national action to combat climate change. She is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal (S. Res. 59), and the Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act (S. 2185) to provide tax incentives and federal grants to help create high-paying clean energy jobs with high labor standards. She also introduced the Next Generation Electric Systems Act (S. 2380) to modernize the electric grid to accommodate high amounts of renewable power through a federal grant program.

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