DeGette: U.S. should be leader in combatting climate crisis

Dec 5, 2019
Press Release
The Colorado Democrat outlines plan to cut U.S. power emissions to net zero by 2050

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) today took issue with fellow lawmakers who seemed to suggest that the federal government shouldn’t act on climate change until other global powers agree to do the same.

“I’m, frankly, very concerned by this implication that, since it’s an international problem, and since China, India and other countries – Russia – are not complying that we should somehow just sit around,” DeGette said during a congressional committee hearing focused on combatting the climate crisis. “I don’t know of any time in our nation’s history where we actually sat around waiting for China, India and Russia to do something.”

DeGette, who serves as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, outlined for the panel legislation she’s been developing to create the first ever federal clean-energy standard designed to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s power sector to net-zero by 2050.

“Rather than sitting back and waiting for them to do something, let’s be the leader and let’s benefit economically,” DeGette told her colleagues.

DeGette recently released a detailed summary of the legislation she plans to introduce in the coming weeks. It would, among other things, create a system to award U.S. energy producers with so-called “clean energy credits” for every megawatt-hour of electricity they produce without emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

The legislation would also award credits for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – for example, by capturing and permanently storing it in the earth.

“The science is clear,” DeGette said in releasing the details of her plan. “If we are going to avoid the worst effects of our climate crisis, the U.S. has to take drastic steps now to cut our carbon emissions. By creating a national clean-energy standard that all U.S. power companies will have to adhere to, we will be able to spur the innovation and deployment of the new technologies we’ll need to solve this crisis.”

The production of electricity remains one of the top sources of carbon emissions in the U.S. In fact, U.S. energy producers are currently responsible for nearly one-fourth of the nation’s carbon emissions.

The world’s top climate experts agree that countries must take steps now to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.

While DeGette’s legislation would likely force U.S. power producers to increase their near-term use of existing sources of carbon-free energy – such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydro-electric dams – it also seeks to spur the innovation of new technologies that will be needed to completely eliminate carbon emissions from the nation’s power sector.  

Video of DeGette’s remarks at today’s hearing is available here.

More information on DeGette’s clean-energy standard plan can be found here.

A detailed summary of the legislation is here.