Can a Climate Change Bill Improve Pittsburgh Residents’ Lives?
At the House and Energy Committee, the Clean Future Act was proposed. It is the result of 15 climate change hearings held by the committee last year. The bill deals with creating a clean economy by the year 2050 with zero net carbon pollution. It does this by creating different guidelines that fall into one of 8 different sections. If passed by the House, it will not go much further because of the Republican controlled Senate. As a counter to this proposal, the House Republicans want to commit to planting 3.3 billion trees over the next 30 years to cut carbon.
The Green New Deal wants to have a carbon neutral economy by the year 2030. It is supported by 60 lawmakers and hopes to solve the ongoing climate crisis as well as income inequality. Some lawmakers think it is not achievable or realistic but with the Clean Future Act, the Green New Deal could be achievable.
Mike Doyle, the head of the committee, also wants building codes to regulate energy efficiency, creating a more efficient energy grid. He also wants to increase the number of electric vehicles. There are 4.5 billion dollars allocated yearly in the bill to help make the transition to electric vehicles. There is also a federal clean electricity standard that increments every year starting in 2022 until it finally reaches 100 percent in 2050. The bill also lets states create their own energy plans, with nuclear, hydropower, and geothermal power being considered equally safe and clean.
With industry, money would be invested into carbon collection and storage technology to prevent carbon entering the atmosphere. It is not commercially proven but it can still be viable for the area. Other important targets include a six percent decrease of greenhouse emissions from light vehicles, a four percent decrease for larger vehicles, and a 50 percent decrease for airplane engines.
Under the bill, improperly constructed coal ash impoundments done without protective liners would be shut down. The protective liners prevent ash, a major pollutant in Pittsburgh, from going into groundwater. Proposals to remove carbon or reduce it is worrying the steel industry though because of how much carbon is in the steel making process.
To help with the transition to renewable energy, grants will be given to the renewable energy sector to help train people for different types of employment. Building projects would also require American made materials unless the use of these products would increase the cost more than 25 percent.
Residents in Pittsburgh would greatly benefit from this bill because of the pollution reduction measures. Pittsburgh has some of the worst air quality in the country, which sickens and hurts surrounding residents. Reducing this pollution would greatly benefit residents of Pittsburgh as well as the rest of the country.
Daniel Moore, “A 622-page climate change bill aims to transform industry. What does it mean for Pittsburgh?” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 16, 2020). [Link]