December 18, 2023

At COP 28, New Dems Chart the Path Forward to a Clean Energy Economy by New Dem Chair Kuster and NDC Climate and Clean Energy Task Force Chair Peters

“COP 28 made it clear that tackling the climate crisis requires every country across the world to do their part—and America must continue to lead that fight.”

Last week, we represented the United States at COP 28 in Dubai — the annual summit convened by the United Nations where diplomats and leaders from nearly 200 countries gather to address the climate crisis and accelerate the global transition to clean energy.

As Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the body responsible for steering U.S. climate policy, this was an opportunity to bring American priorities to the world stage and hear from other nations about how they’re tackling this crisis.

We also serve as the New Democrat Coalition’s (NDC) Chair and Climate and Clean Energy Task Force Chair. Together, we’ve been on the frontlines of the policy fight against climate change, working in Congress to advance common-sense climate solutions that can become law – particularly on permitting reform, which will help break through bureaucratic barriers and fast track essential energy projects.

At the summit, we advocated for New Dems’ clean energy priorities to address the climate crisis. In bilateral meetings with critical international allies and partners — including Australia and Taiwan — our Members pushed ideas that would increase energy independence, lower energy costs, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Our experience at COP 28 further solidified our belief that the U.S. must continue to lead global efforts to curb carbon emissions and ensure all nations meet their climate commitments. Without U.S. leadership, all the collective progress we have made is at risk.

Last Congress, New Dems played a critical role in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which positioned the U.S. to be a world leader in halving our emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050. 

Under Democratic leadership in the White House and in Congress, we are lowering methane emissions, making clean energy technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles more affordable for American families, strengthening our electric grid and energy security, and creating an estimated 1.5 million new jobs to assist our transition to clean energy. Each of these efforts will make our economy stronger, our air cleaner, and our planet safer.  

Of course, more work remains to improve energy efficiency and eliminate barriers blocking the deployment and adaptation of innovative climate technologies.

This week, the NDC Climate and Clean Energy Task Force endorsed 14 New Dem-led bills, eight of which are bipartisan, that tackle these barriers head on.

We believe this bill slate is key to ensuring our transition to a clean energy future and getting us there as fast as possible. From streamlining the adoption of interstate transmission lines to deploy clean energy, to investing in the development of groundbreaking fusion technology, New Dems have outlined a clear path toward a cleaner future.

While our country has made historic investments, we know that it is still not enough to stop the worst effects of climate change. That’s why New Dems are pushing our colleagues to cut through bureaucratic red tape and speed up the deployment of clean energy with the urgency this moment demands.

Throughout this Congress, the New Democrat Coalition’s Climate Change and Clean Energy Task Force has spearheaded efforts to streamline the siting and permitting process for energy infrastructure.

In May, our task force called for extensive, bipartisan permitting reform that will lower costs and fully unleash America’s clean energy potential. As a result, the Biden administration took concrete steps to eliminate bureaucratic red tape through their Permitting Action Plan, which includes our recommendation to fast-track electric transmission permitting by allowing the Department of Energy to exercise its full authority under existing law.

Enough hamstringing progress – it’s time for action.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should build on the administration’s success by finalizing its regional transmission planning and cost allocation proposed rule. It is time to promulgate a rule that ensures our transmission system is designed and built for our future clean energy needs.

In addition to administrative action, Congress must pass a comprehensive, transformative, and bold permitting reform package to ensure that we can address the worst effects of the climate crisis before it’s too late. That’s why New Dems made siting and permitting reform the centerpiece of our Economic Opportunity Agenda, a policy roadmap to lower costs, fight inflation, and grow the middle class.

In the weeks and months ahead, New Dems will continue working to advance these initiatives and ultimately execute the most ambitious energy and climate agenda in history.

Scientists and climate experts have consistently warned us that we must meet this moment with the urgency it demands. COP 28 made it clear that tackling the climate crisis requires every country across the world to do their part—and America must continue to lead that fight.

New Dems have the roadmap to make this goal a reality. Let’s get it done.

By:  NDC Chair Annie Kuster and NDC Climate Change and Clean Energy Task Force Chair Scott Peters
Source: Newsweek