If Congress can pass it, Build Back Better could be a second “Green New Deal”.

As Democrats continue to discuss with Senator Manchin about a cut Rebuild action better, we should realize that whatever is enacted, the Biden Administration is trying to pass version 2.0 of Green New Deal.

The media – and most of it in Washington – have decided that the Green New Deal failure. To be sure, the final resolution expressing its boldest goals was never close to being enacted or even endorsed by the President. What remains is the essence of the Green New Deal: the combination of federal funding with green investments that are transforming the economy, and the social and environmental regulatory safety net. It’s the ideal combination that Roosevelt stumbled upon, and Biden is now being pushed for.

What America is basically like – and global climate – transformed by this combination will be determined not only by the scale of Build it Back to being better as it comes, but also the boldness of the second phase, the regulation of climate ambition Biden. Again, it is the combination of these two forces that will shape the scale and success of the Second Green New Deal.

Like David Roberts shown in his 2021 annual review in Voltage2021 will be the legislative high water mark of Biden’s first climate term – for a long time to come. Roberts seems certain of this. In my experience, politics is too volatile to make such long-term predictions – but I agree that true climate strategy must be based on the premise that Congress will do little more for action. climate change over the next five years, it’s important that they survive the climate. Building back to be better, by any means, is the bottom line.

Related: Climate crisis report card for 2021

But I certainly differ from Roberts in his lament that such a continuing impasse by Congress means “those of us hoping for climate progress will have to forget about good solutions.” first and start thinking about guerrilla actions, in states, cities and private sectors. It’s a very different mindset than pushing for a centralized solution.”

Well, Franklin Roosevelt didn’t achieve victory with a centralized solution either. His biggest environmental success – cutting soil erosion in the Dust Bowl within five years – was the product of the Soil Conservation Service, which was hardly ever mentioned in the stories of the years. 1930.

Biden calls this “all of government.” That’s a different mindset. But not necessarily defenders (guerrillas almost never defend – ask Mao) nor less ambitious troops. The Obama administration launched the Clean Power Plan (CPP) as a centralized solution for its power sector. Courts and Congress completely nullified it. However, other forms of community action and regulation, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) emission limits on other pollutants, have met the emissions reduction targets of The CPP is a decade earlier than Obama expected.

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A frozen Congress does not necessarily mean a frozen federal government. The Biden administration has spent most of its climate regulation efforts to date undoing Trump’s setbacks. There are clear and strong standards the EPA, the Energy Department and Biden’s Department of the Interior can set – but have yet to be initiated, perhaps because they have simply slowed the climate down. ” of the Congressional Democrats I bargained. Once Congress is no longer a forum, some pro-Democrats will be left out.

The closing of major legislative opportunities could instead trigger a second phase of the Green New Deal, embedded in a series of economically attractive and climate-friendly regulatory reforms. Biden’s choice: carry out the attack again or let the congressional stalemate define his Administration.

It’s an easier choice if Build Back Better appears relatively climate-appropriate. Carrots and sticks go together best.

For example, the EPA just released an automotive carbon emission standard that claims to decarbonise twice as fast as the draft version released just four months ago. What has changed? Well, billions of dollars of federal investment in electric vehicle charging networks and electric vehicle customer incentives in both bipartisan budgets and Build Better Back, coupled with continued growth in the states. State is a signatory to California’s independent (and ambitious) auto and truck standards. The same combination of state leadership and federal finance helped President Obama adopt his ambitious original auto regulations in 2009.

There is a risk that the Trump Supreme Court could limit – or even overturn – the EPA’s powers over carbon dioxide emissions. Even if it were, the EPA isn’t as helpless as the media often assumes.

Carbon dioxide is inevitably released when burning fossil fuels. But so are other health pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act, particularly nitrogen oxides. And with generous federal tax credits for carbon capture and storage, it becomes a legally “available” technology. Once the EPA mandates carbon capture and storage – first for new plants, then for existing coal and gas power plants – the decarbonization of the utilities benefits will get a big boost. Coal and gas are already more expensive than wind and solar. Add in the costs of CCS and their market share shrinks even faster.

Power plants and vehicles aren’t the only major climate polluters that the Clean Air Act health concerns are forcing overdue concern as well. Home furnaces, water heaters and stoves are the main sources of both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. An unintelligent gas stove in a typical home generates enough nitrogen pollution to violate air quality health standards, and regularly emits dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Nearly half of the houses in the country are fully electrified; Both federal and local governments should address this obvious health risk with a zero-carbon alternative.

It’s a horrifying story that was reported less than 50 years after the Clean Air Act was enacted, 40% of Americans Still breathing fresh air. With the recent advancement in zero-emission technologies for power generation, transportation, homes and even industry, there is no reason for that scandal to continue. The burning of fossil fuels is both a health risk and a climate curse. The burning had its day. Prometheus can finally rest in peace.

Building back to better federal funding would make industry less resistant to rapid technological change and decarbonisation. State and local incentives and authorizations will help businesses experiment with more new initiatives; accelerate the early adoption of zero-emission technologies; develop the necessary network of electric vehicle transmission, storage and charging infrastructure; and establish high-level regional mandates that will bring the industry to the negotiating table with the EPA on the fastest path to national adoption. Real, a major study My research has proven that even as we take significant Congressional action, the only reliable path to meeting Biden’s 50% emissions reduction by 2030 is through a relationship with comprehensive cooperation between Washington and the rest of American society.

I’ll end up like Roberts did: passing the Better Rebuild Act remains a key strategy for taking full advantage of Biden’s management opportunities – the $550 billion in funding it can provide for clean energy technologies such as renewables, transmission and storage that will significantly accelerate coal power and plant gas retirement. More funding for electric vehicle charging remains essential to propel the EV revolution forward at full speed. BBB’s loan programs will be crucial to accelerating decarbonisation in the other biggest polluter, industry.

And how long will Congress’s chances of climate action be closed by Republican intransigence? Remember that if Republicans grasp the levers of congressional power, they must hand over to the American people – something their congressional leadership clearly failed to do when they were in office before.

As it becomes increasingly clear to the American people that where energy matters, newer and cleaner = cheaper and safer, the message “coal and oil forever” will become an increasingly heavy burden on the GOP’s shoulders. So politics aside, the second phase of Biden’s Green New Deal could prove to be a political game-changer. If, and only if, it’s bold enough.

Read more about Build Back Better: If Congress can pass it, Build Back Better could be a second “Green New Deal”.

Caroline Bleakley

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