House Democrats lay out new roadmap for cutting US greenhouse gas emissions

The recommendations would put the US on track to slash net greenhouse gas emissions 88 per cent below 2010 levels by 2050. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - House Democrats on Tuesday (June 29) will unveil a plan to cut nearly 90 per cent of US greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including mandating sales of zero-emission cars by 2035 and decarbonising the power grid by 2040.

The policy recommendations are intended as a blueprint for lawmakers to fight climate change should Democrats win control of Congress in the November election. But they do not go nearly as far as the Green New Deal resolution previously floated by the party's progressive wing that called for a 10-year transition to a 100 per cent clean energy economy.

The plan proposes expanding the US$7,500 (S$10,450) electric vehicle tax credit after both Tesla and General Motors vehicles' credits expired. It calls for raising the 200,000 vehicle individual manufacturer cap and new incentives to help consumers buy used electric vehicles.

Republicans have labelled plans like the Green New Deal "socialist" and President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election, has made rolling back environmental regulations to support the drilling and mining industries a centrepiece of his economic agenda.

The 500-page plan drafted by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis would support clean energy businesses, ban drilling on public lands, protect minority communities from climate impacts and bolster the climate resilience of farmlands, according to a summary seen by Reuters.

Together, the recommendations would put the United States on track to slash net greenhouse gas emissions 88 per cent below 2010 levels by 2050, according to Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan climate policy research group that modelled the plan with committee staff.

The policy recommendations "satisfy the scientific and moral imperatives to reduce carbon pollution and as quickly and aggressively as possible make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change," according to the summary.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will join committee chair Representative Kathy Castor and Democratic panel members to unveil the blueprint on Tuesday.

Environment America, a coalition of state environmental advocacy groups, praised the plan. It was not immediately clear if lawmakers and other green groups will support it.

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