100% by 2050: Dozens of U.S. House Democrats introduce climate bill

there ya go
Solar panels at the Copper Mountain Solar 3 Facility just outside Boulder City. (Nevada Current file photo)
there ya go
Solar panels at the Copper Mountain Solar 3 Facility just outside Boulder City. (Nevada Current file photo)

WASHINGTON — Legislation was introduced in the U.S. House this week that would commit the United States to achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050. 

“The climate crisis is a threat to our public health, economy, and national security,” said Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford in a statement. Horsford is one of the bill’s more than 150  co-sponsors, all Democrats.

“Climate change is already hurting people and places we love—right now. In Nevada, climate change threatens to raise our region’s already unsafe temperatures and increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires across the state. But we can do something about it,” Horsford said,

The “100% Clean Economy Act,” which has the backing of national environmental groups, has been in the works for months. It would require economy-wide net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; it would also direct federal agencies to draft plans to clamp down on emissions that contribute to climate change. 

“The need to act on climate has never been clearer: 2019 is on pace to be one of the hottest years ever recorded and every week brings another community damaged by extreme weather events fueled by climate change,” Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), the bill’s chief sponsor, said in a statement. 

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said the bill “presents an opportunity to tackle the climate crisis while providing federal leadership towards the creation of a new energy system.”

A major United Nations report released last year said the world could face catastrophic climate change impacts unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 45 percent by 2030. The world would need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the report found. 

The bill’s targets are less ambitious than the Green New Deal, a proposal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that aims to transition the United States to 100% renewable energy by 2030. 

McEachin, who isn’t a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, called that legislation “aspirational,” noting that it lays out broad goals but doesn’t articulate a path forward. 

His bill, he said, “is still ambitious and it’s very consistent with what scientists tell us we have to achieve.” 

The bill is one of several major pieces of climate change efforts introduced in the House since Democrats took control of the chamber in January. But while some of those efforts could clear the House this Congress, they’re unlikely to get traction in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Robin Bravender
Robin Bravender is the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for States Newsroom, a network of state-based nonprofit news outlets that includes Nevada Current.