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Pallone Details Plan to Combat Climate Change

January 17, 2020
Press Release
“New Jersey is on the frontline of this crisis, and we can no longer afford to address climate change along the margins. The CLEAN Future Act provides the kind of serious federal leadership this moment requires.”

West Long Branch, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) discussed the framework of the CLEAN Future Act, a bold legislative proposal to combat climate change. He was joined by First Lady Tammy Murphy and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe as well as environmental and youth advocates. Pallone emphasized the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for federal leadership. In 2019, New Jersey saw its 10th warmest year on record and is one of the fastest-warming states in the country.

The CLEAN Future Act is a comprehensive proposal of sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to address the climate crisis. Critically, the CLEAN Future Act formally adopts the goal of achieving of a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. The draft bill incorporates both proven and novel concepts, presenting a set of policy proposals that will put the U.S. on the path to a clean and prosperous economy. 

The plan to produce net zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050 is consistent with the global scientific community’s consensus that meeting this target is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

“Record wildfires, flooding, heat waves and drought have spelled out a dire reality: the climate crisis is here. New Jersey is on the frontline of this crisis, and we can no longer afford to address climate change along the margins. The CLEAN Future Act provides the kind of serious federal leadership this moment requires,” said Congressman Pallone. “This plan represents our commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas pollution. For the sake of the American people, the long-term sustainability of our economy, and public health, we must act boldly, and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

“In the near future, the reality of climate change is going to transform both our lives and the lives of our children in ways that we can’t really imagine and that are very close to home,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “It is our responsibility that we find a multi-pronged strategy that incorporates both proven and innovative ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. I thank Congressman Pallone and all who have contributed to crafting the CLEAN Future Act to put us on a path to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050 as a nation.”

“Action on climate change demands a team effort. We are grateful to Congressman Pallone for his leadership on the federal level with the CLEAN Future Act,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “From supporting a clean energy economy to ensuring environmental justice and many other issues, New Jersey’s climate change goals will make the state stronger and fairer for its residents and help set the standard for national measures.”

“Protecting our water means doing everything we can to address climate change. We need to move to a 100% clean economy as fast as possible. We thank Congressman Pallone and the Committee for their leadership and commitment to this goal,” said Amy Goldsmith, State Director of Clean Water Action. “Climate change is water change. The carbon intensive way we live in the U.S. significantly contributes to the climate crisis and pollutes our water, air and communities. It also disproportionately harms low-income communities and communities of color. The CLEAN Future Act provides the solutions we need to make a clean and healthy future available to all.”

“Climate change and air pollution harm our children in every aspect of their lives. In the face of the climate crisis and rollbacks to some of the most crucial environmental protections by the current leaders at the EPA, parents are becoming increasingly fearful for their children’s well-being. Parents across New Jersey know that this crisis needs urgent attention, and Moms Clean Air Force applauds Congressman Pallone’s comprehensive, economy-wide legislative proposal that will protect our kids’ health and future,” said Mollie Michel, Moms Clean Air Force.

“As a mom from Newark with three asthmatic children, I applaud Congressman Pallone for The CLEAN Future Act. My city is ground zero for environmental injustice and the climate crisis. We suffer from the disproportionate share of major polluters - airport, idling trucks and buses, garbage incinerators, gas and sewage plants. We would greatly benefit from a green and healthy economy. We need change now!” said Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Organizer, Clean Water Action.

“The climate crisis poses the gravest danger to our state, our nation and the world,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “We applaud Congressman Pallone for his leadership on the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act, which provides a comprehensive and badly needed roadmap to ensuring the United States achieves net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050. The Congressman’s proposal incorporates many different aspects of the economy while providing a blueprint as to how states like New Jersey can progress to a future that is clean, safe, and prosperous. We urge our New Jersey Congressional delegation to throw their full support behind the CLEAN Act as it continues to be refined and expanded.”

“The CLEAN Future Act treats the climate crisis like the national crisis that is and will drive states and the innovation economy to achieve a net zero carbon future over the next three decades,” said Doug O'Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “The memory of Hurricane Sandy's impact is still strong and serves as a clarion call for climate action on the federal level. We are proud to stand with Congressman Pallone to support this initiative.”

“All life on earth depends on a fragile web which begins in the sea. Break any thread, and the web begins to collapse.  Break the base of the web and the consequences are catastrophic. Ocean impacts from climate change include acidification, warming, and sea level rise, all of which attack the very base of the web of life in the sea,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “To stop impacts from climate change, bold aggressive actions must be taken. Mr. Pallone’s legislative vision, the CLEAN Future Act, puts forth the agenda to seriously move forward.”

“The CLEAN Future Act is a strong and clear answer to the calls from millions of Americans taking to the streets demanding action on climate change. This detailed plan is what our country needs to protect all of our communities from harmful pollution, create thousands of good local jobs, improve public health and move towards a more sustainable and prosperous economy,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “In line with the landmark progress, Governor Phil Murphy has achieved in New Jersey towards 100% clean energy by 2050, we are proud of New Jersey’s very own Congressman, Frank Pallone, is leading the nation to take bold action to address the climate crisis.” 

“New Jersey is making the fight against climate change a cornerstone of its 2020 initiatives. The State’s soon to be announced Energy Master Plan, will provide a roadmap for arriving at its goal of a 100-percent clean-energy economy by 2050. Congressman Pallone’s CLEAN Future Act is an ambitious national climate plan to ensure the United States achieves net-zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050,” said Margot Walsh of Jersey Shore Partnership. “States like New Jersey that are taking the lead in addressing the realities of climate change will benefit from the proposed CLEAN Future Act’s sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to address the climate crisis.” 

“The CLEAN Future Act is exactly the type of comprehensive policy strategy we need to address the complex set of risks associated with climate change while also skillfully capitalizing on high leverage areas that are key to transitioning to a more vibrant, sustainable and equitable economy fueled by clean energy,” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable Business Council.

“The CLEAN Future Act lends a hand to states that are already leading - like New Jersey - with our ambitious goal to build 7500 megawatts of offshore wind and get more electric vehicles on the roads. These are actions that will secure a better future,” said Joe Mangino of New Jersey Organizing Project.

Pallone chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, which announced the framework last week. It details the legislation’s proposals to date, which include taking ambitious new policies within the Committee’s jurisdiction, all aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas pollution to net-zero by 2050. The draft legislation includes the following key areas:

Power Sector: The CLEAN Future Act proposes a nationwide Clean Electricity Standards (CES) requiring all retail electricity suppliers to obtain 100 percent clean energy by 2050.  The CES in the discussion draft text mandates that all retail electricity suppliers provide an increasing supply of clean energy to consumers starting in 2022, rising to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Building Sector: The draft legislation aims to improve the efficiency of new and existing buildings, as well as the equipment and appliances that operate within them.  To this end, the Act establishes national energy savings targets for continued improvement of building energy codes, leading to a requirement of zero-energy-ready buildings by 2030.

Transportation Sector: The draft legislation reduces transportation emissions, the largest source of GHG emissions, by improving vehicle efficiency, accelerating the transition to low- to zero-carbon fuels and building the infrastructure needed for a clean transportation system.  The bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set new, increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, including non-road modes of transportation.  It further requires year-over-year improvements to those standards – and that the level of the standards be set in accordance with the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Industrial Sector: The CLEAN Future Act establishes a Buy Clean Program that sets performance targets to steadily reduce emissions from construction materials and products used in projects that receive federal funding.  With the vast majority of U.S. construction projects funded by government dollars, this proposal would transform these carbon-intensive industries by ensuring that these projects only use the cleanest construction materials.

National Climate Target for Federal Agencies: The CLEAN Future Act directs all federal agencies to use all existing authorities to put the country on a path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  To ensure federal agencies’ collective efforts remain on track, the draft legislation directs the EPA to evaluate each agency’s plans, make recommendations and report on progress each year.

State Climate Plans: The bill sets a national climate standard of net-zero greenhouse gas pollution in each state by 2050.  States are then granted flexibility to develop plans to meet the 2050 and interim standards based on their policy preferences, priorities and circumstances.  Each state must submit a climate plan to EPA, which then reviews and approves or disapproves each plan.  States may work independently or cooperatively as they develop their plans to meet the national climate standard.

National Climate Bank: The CLEAN Future Act establishes a first-of-its-kind National Climate Bank to help states, cities, communities and companies in the transition to a clean economy.  The Bank will mobilize public and private investments to provide financing for low- and zero-emissions energy technologies, climate resiliency, building efficiency and electrification, industrial decarbonization, grid modernization, agriculture projects, and clean transportation.

Environmental Justice: The draft legislation requires that states’ individual climate plans and state implementation plans for other hazardous air pollutants proactively consider the needs of frontline and environmental justice communities. The bill also requires that the National Climate Bank prioritize investments in communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change, including low-income and frontline communities.

The CLEAN Future Act also features a suite of complementary policies, including proposals to remove barriers to clean energy, reduce super pollutants like methane, and investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency programs.

Legislative text of the draft CLEAN Future Act will be released by the end of the month.  Hearings and stakeholder meetings will continue throughout the year.

The legislative framework is available HERE.