Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 2, 2021


Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

House Democrats’ Climate Bill Fails to Meet Urgent Crisis

Energy, Commerce Bill Falls Short on Targets, Binding Mechanisms

WASHINGTON— House Energy and Commerce Democrats introduced revamped legislation today that aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but it fails to set adequate measures to meet those goals.

Introduced by Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future (CLEAN) Act updates legislation from last year, but it includes President Biden’s more aggressive target for 100% clean electricity by 2035.

In addition to targeting net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050, the legislation aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. But the bill does not include any binding mechanisms to achieve these targets. Instead, it directs agencies to develop plans that will be reviewed by a Clean Economy Federal Advisory Committee.

“Chairman Pallone’s new legislation improves on last year’s abysmal proposal, but it still doesn’t do what scientists tell us is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We need to slash emissions 70% in 10 years, and we need firm cuts in greenhouse gases right now, not just gimmicky incentives, or future generations will suffer from our inaction today.”

The legislation falls short in setting mechanisms of action. For example, it directs the Environmental Protection Agency to address pollution from natural gas facilities and offshore oil and gas operations, but it doesn’t set any standards that actually phase out fossil fuels.

Even as it fails to address the core cause of the climate crisis, the bill promotes false solutions, including carbon capture and storage technologies.

CLEAN Act policies to achieve President Biden’s clean energy target, such as the “zero-emission electricity credit trading program,” are unproven and unworkable.

“Instead of presenting a detailed game plan for climate action, this bill punts the hard decisions to agencies and counts on mythical market mechanisms to save us,” said Hartl. “The climate science has been clear for years, and it’s time Congress stopped passing the buck.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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