Senate Democrats’ Climate Committee Releases New Report On Climate Action, Plan To Build Clean Economy For American People

Report Outlines How Climate Action Will Grow The Economy, Improve Lives For Americans Across The Country; Read The Full Report: Democrats.Senate.Gov/Climate-Report

August 25, 2020

Washington D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Special Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), and U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released a comprehensive report on the climate crisis titled “The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People.”

The new report – which comes after dozens of hearings, meetings, and input from experts, labor unions, mayors, environmental justice leaders, and native communities, among others – details how bold climate action from Congress can create millions of new jobs, grow the American economy, and improve people’s lives across the country.

The Committee’s report calls on Congress to:

  • Reduce U.S. emissions rapidly to achieve 100 percent global net-zero emissions no later than 2050;
  • Stimulate economic growth by increasing federal spending on climate action to at least 2 percent of GDP annually — and ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits from these investments help communities of color and low-income, deindustrialized, and disadvantaged communities; and
  • Create at least 10 million new jobs.

“The climate crisis is not some distant threat. It is here now, and it will be catastrophic if we don’t strike back immediately. Over the next few decades, climate change will affect every part of American life: our health, our economy, our national security, even our geography. Democrats are committed to working—decisively and aggressively—to avoid the steep human and economic costs of a worsening climate crisis, and to guide the transition to a low carbon economy,” said Leader Schumer.

“Our committee stitched together a political coalition across demographic, geographic, and ideological boundaries,” said Senator Schatz. “We don’t have to keep losing on climate – the work we’ve done shows that we can unite Americans and finally get this done.”

“This report charts a smart path forward for climate action in Congress. It includes the vital first step of exposing the fossil fuel industry’s decades-old covert operation to scuttle meaningful climate legislation,” said Senator Whitehouse. “To move forward on major climate bills, we’ll need to execute on that recommendation. It also lays out a bold plan to slash carbon pollution, create jobs and greater equity across our economy, and avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Thank you to Chairman Schatz for his leadership. I’m proud to have been a part of this effort.”

“This pandemic is showing us the importance of responding to crises boldly and decisively, with science not ideology,” said Senator Merkley. “Climate chaos, like the coronavirus, is already disproportionately harming communities of color, exacerbating health inequities, and devastating the rural economy. Those ramifications are only going to get worse unless we take on the fossil fuel lobby and special interests that are blocking urgently needed climate action at every turn.”

“In Colorado, we know the cost of inaction on climate change all too well — longer droughts and worsening wildfires hurt our environment and our economy. Following the 2008 recession, clean energy investments boosted Colorado's rural and urban economies, and we have an enormous opportunity to recover from our current economic crisis by unleashing climate solutions once again. The report we're releasing today is clear: there are bold and enduring solutions to tackle climate change, and it is time to act on them. We can create 10 million high-paying jobs, boost rural and agricultural communities, tackle environmental injustices, reinvigorate American manufacturing, and reestablish U.S. leadership around the world. And the only way to ensure these solutions last beyond one administration to benefit future generations is by building a broad coalition of support,” said Senator Bennet.

“Let there be no doubt, climate change is a real, immediate and growing threat to national security, public health and our economy. The longer we fail to act, the more costly climate change will be,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our Climate Committee report includes a plan to move forward on top priorities for us in Wisconsin. We must invest in putting people to work building infrastructure that is better, stronger and smarter. Local communities need help building more resilient infrastructure to withstand the next extreme weather event and we have a plan to provide that support. Our agricultural economy also has a lot to lose if we don’t act on climate change. That is why we need to support the innovative practices that farmers are already doing to be part of the solution and generate new economic growth for rural communities. Taking bold action to confront climate change is an urgent economic necessity for us in Wisconsin and building a clean economy will make our state stronger.”

“The climate crisis is the most pressing issue of our generation. We are already experiencing very real and incredibly costly climate disruptions in New Mexico, across America, and around the world,” said Senator Heinrich. “Our new report lays out bold but achievable climate actions that meet the full scale of the challenges we face. As someone with a background in science and engineering, I’m pleased that we specifically focused on our imperative to invest much more in research and development to maintain our nation’s leadership role in technological innovation. Especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should recognize that climate action and the clean energy transition represent our greatest opportunities to put Americans back to work in good-paying careers building a stronger future.”

“A comprehensive federal response to climate change is more urgently needed than ever before. Racism and inequality put more Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives at risk from climate change-driven disasters, and every year brings new ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ events and record-breaking weather. At the same time, grassroots momentum for action is reaching new heights, calling for climate justice that brings jobs, opportunity, and equity to all. We have the know-how and the solutions, many of which are laid out in this report and which were presented to the Special Committee by expert witnesses. Now, we need to respond to this urgency and enact them,” said Senator Markey.

“Climate change is real, it’s happening now and it has serious, dangerous effects—not just to our environment but also to our military readiness,” said Senator Duckworth. “Our troops and military installations face growing risks from more extreme and frequent weather events, including rising sea levels, droughts and storms. But with the right investments and rigorous planning, we can dramatically reduce the risks climate change presents to our national security. I’m proud to join my colleagues in releasing this report that outlines a path forward and actions Congress can take to address this crisis, and I look forward to working towards its goals.”

“I’m glad that the Select Committee’s report lays out so many positive solutions to address the urgent climate crisis. It is important that Congress act to address the threat of climate change to improve the lives of all Americans, keep our families healthier, stimulate our economy, provide good paying jobs with labor protections, and ensure that Nevada and the United States lead the world in developing cutting-edge technologies,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada has a crucial role to play in transitioning toward this clean energy future, with its abundant solar, geothermal, and mineral resources and its track record of innovation in the clean energy space. I look forward to continuing to work with my Special Committee colleagues in the Senate on policies to build a more resilient climate future for Nevada and the nation.”

 
“If we do nothing, climate change will be an economic, environmental and public health disaster,” said Senator Smith. “The good news is that if the United States leads the transition to a net zero emissions economy, we can grow American jobs, reduce health disparities and other environmental injustices, and protect the planet for our children and our grandchildren. I am proud to join my Senate Democratic Colleagues in releasing this report today and look forward to working hard to turn these recommendations into action.”

The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is affiliated with the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, was established in March 2019 and was tasked with investigating, holding hearings, and issuing findings on the economic and national security consequences of climate change and how climate action presents significant opportunities for jobs, public health, and the economy. Since March 2019, the committee held 10 public hearings, convened 10 in-depth meetings with experts, and connected with a broad array of constituencies – in person and through targeted outreach.

To read the report and view supportive statements from organizations, click here.

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