Rep. Bonamici set to present U.S. House plan to deal with climate change
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici invites the public to an online presentation of the far-reaching plan that she and others have drafted in a special House committee to deal with climate change.
Her presentation is scheduled from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 8. To join it, use the link at the bottom of this story to respond and to submit questions in advance. Participants will get call-in information via email one hour in advance; people can also watch the presentation on Bonamici's YouTube channel.
Bonamici, a Democrat who represents the 1st District of northwest Oregon, will have three guest presenters. They are Don Sampson, climate change project director for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Oregon, which has 57 member tribes; Evelyn Shapiro, executive secretary, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and George Waldbusser, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University.
They will discuss aspects of the 538-page plan from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which Pelosi sits on as one of nine Democrats. None of the six Republicans signed on to the plan.
Bonamici herself took part in the House Democratic presentation Tuesday, June 30, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Among its highlights, the plan calls for a range of government mandates, tax incentives and new infrastructure. Examples are limiting carmakers to electric vehicles by 2035, requiring utilities to eliminate greenhouse gases and using alternatives to fossil fuels in producing power, and doubling the federal investment in public transit.
The plan envisions a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, but lacks details on how it would be done.
"Our committee was charged with crafting a bold, science-based, comprehensive climate action plan to address the climate crisis and reach net-zero emissions no later than mid-century and net-negative thereafter.
"We included a focus on the needs of front-line communities, opportunities to accelerate our transition to a 100% clean-energy economy, and ways to create good-paying jobs. There was an outpouring of input from thousands of community members and leaders from Oregon and around the country.
"This work is a road map, and now is the time for action. I will keep working with my colleagues to enact these policies; the future of our planet depends on it."
Bonamici has advocated numerous climate-change bills over the years, as a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, in addition to the committee plan.
The committee was re-established by Democrat Nancy Pelosi when she became House speaker for a second round in January 2019. She had a similar committee during her initial tenure as speaker, but Republicans scrapped it when they won a majority in the House in the 2010 elections.
Although the plan is unlikely to pass the Republican-led Senate — let alone President Donald Trump, who has labeled climate change a hoax — it does indicate the directions Democrats may take in 2021 if they win majorities in both chambers and Joe Biden is elected president on Nov. 3.
Trump moved in June 2017 to withdraw the United States from the global framework for voluntary greenhouse gas reductions known as the Paris Agreement, which 195 nations signed in 2015. But full withdrawal takes effect only after the U.S. presidential election.
Bonamici was part of a congressional delegation Pelosi led to Madrid, Spain, about seven months ago to a United Nations conference on climate change. Their intent was to assure other nations that a significant number of U.S. leaders still support climate-change action.
According to a public opinion survey released June 23 by the Pew Research Center, 65% of those sampled say the federal government is doing too little to deal with climate change — and they back five specific steps with support ranging from 71% (better fuel efficiency for cars) to 90% (plant 1 trillion trees).
The plan represents the most significant congressional advance on the issue since June 2009, when the House passed cap-and-trade legislation for greenhouse-gas emissions. That bill died in the Senate.
It sets a target of net-zero emissions from greenhouse gases by 2050, 10 years later than the target set by the Green New Deal, a package of climate change and economic equality bills proposed in February 2019. That package was announced a couple of weeks after Pelosi named the select committee, which is limited to drafting legislation and hearing witnesses.
Bonamici did sign on to the Green New Deal, as did almost all members of Oregon's congressional delegation except Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader and Republican Rep. Greg Walden.
The committee plan envisions reaching a net-zero target for carbon dioxide before 2050, and a 37% reduction in all greenhouse gases below 2010 levels by 2030, and an 88% reduction by 2050.
Oregon is among the states with a renewable (energy) portfolio standard. Lawmakers set it in 2016 at attaining 50% of power generation from renewable sources by 2040.
More far-reaching plans failed twice in the Oregon Legislature after minority Republicans walked out in the Senate in 2019 and from both chambers in 2020 to forestall votes. The walkouts deprived Democrats of the two-thirds majorities required under the Oregon Constitution for the Legislature to conduct business, and Democrats abruptly adjourned the 2020 session a few days before the March 8 deadline, leaving most bills without final action.
To join the July 8 presentation by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and to file questions in advance:
To see a summary of the plan crafted by the House select committee on which Bonamici sits:
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