Bill to Decarbonise the United States
The Senate’s climate bill is a major step forward, but it’s only the beginning of the fight to decarbonise the United States.
For the first time, Congress is using its power to push the United States towards decarbonisation. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill to set economy-wide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establish a mechanism for meeting those targets. The account is far from perfect—it leaves out many key details, including how the targets will be met—but it’s an important step forward nonetheless.
It’s also a reminder of how much ground we have to make up. Despite the urgency of the climate crisis, the United States has made very little progress in reducing emissions over the past three decades. We’re now emitting more greenhouse gases than ever before.
The Senate’s climate bill is a recognition of that failure. It’s an acknowledgement that we need to do much more to combat climate change and that we need to do it quickly.
The bill is also a sign of hope. For the first time in decades, there is finally a chance that the United States will take meaningful action on climate change. We have a long way to go, but this bill is a step in the right direction.
Ever since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the Senate has been the biggest obstacle to progress on climate change. The agreement was designed to be voluntary for rich countries so that the Senate would not have to ratify it. (In the final moments, the American delegation had to change an errant shall into a should to save it from Senate jurisdiction.)
The Senate has also been the biggest obstacle to domestic climate action. In 2009, the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive climate bill, but the Senate never even voted on it. In 2015, the Obama administration released the Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced emissions from power plants, but the Senate refused to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice who could have upheld it.
The Senate’s climate bill is a sign that those days are finally over. The Senate is finally starting to take climate change seriously, and it’s about time.
There’s still a long way to go before the United States is on track to meet its Paris Agreement goals. But with this bill, we’re finally moving in the right direction.
What do you think? What other obstacles do you think the United States needs to overcome to meet its climate goals? Let us know in the comments.
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