The measures would represent the country’s first major climate laws if passed in something close to their current form. Notably, it includes the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which uses payments and penalties to encourage utilities to increase their share of electricity from carbon-neutral sources (read our previous explanation). Here).
Other speakers on a board titled Clean up the power strip, advised on creating this program. was among them Leah Stokes, an associate professor focusing on energy and climate policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara; And Jesse Jenkins, an assistant professor and researcher in energy systems at Princeton University.
They argued during the hearing that the legislation, designed to ensure 80% of the country’s electricity comes from clean sources by 2030, is more effective and politically feasible than competing approaches, including carbon taxes favored by many economists.
“When … we say to people, ‘We’re going to make the use of a commodity, which is energy, more expensive for you,'” said Stokes, “it’s not very popular.” “This theory of political change collides with the reality of income inequality in this country.”
“The different paradigm is to say, ‘Instead of making fossil fuel use more expensive, let’s help make it cheaper to use clean materials,'” she added.
But it remains to be seen whether, and in what form, the clean electricity measure and other climate provisions will be passed. Even some Democratic senators in a narrowly divided Congress have retreated What they portray as excessive spending in bills.
Despite progress on climate issues, well-funded and politically influential utilities and fossil fuel interests continue to hamper efforts to reform energy systems with the required speed and scale, Julian Brave Noisecat, vice president of policy and strategy at Data for Progress, who moderated the session.