February 11, 2020

Wyden Introduces Legislation to Achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S. by No Later Than 2050

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation that would put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

The world’s leading scientists have warned that humanity must limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. According to the United Nations annual Emissions Gap Report released last month, collective global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not yet substantial enough to reach that temperature goal.

“We’re in desperate need of urgent, meaningful action to address the immediate and worsening effects of climate change. If Trump’s EPA won’t do its job to secure our planet’s future, Congress must hold the agency accountable and force it to use its authority to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions drastically by 2050,” Wyden said. “This bill will bring America that much closer to kicking its carbon habit. We cannot afford to ignore the science any longer.”

The Clean Economy Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use existing authorities to put our country on a pathway to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050. Any plan developed by the EPA must achieve rapid reductions at minimal costs, prioritize public health and support a strong labor workforce. EPA is also required to build upon existing state, local and private climate programs and set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2025, 2030 and 2040. Other federal agencies would be required to do their part to help the nation meet the net-zero goal and help enhance America’s global competitiveness through investments in research and development, innovation and equitable access to worker training.

Cosponsors of the legislation also include Senators Tom Carper, D-Del., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Chris Coons, D-Del., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tim Kaine, D-Va., Angus King, I-Maine, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

The legislation is supported by major environmental groups, business groups and organized labor including: United Steelworkers, Utility Workers Union of America, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers, American Rivers, BlueGreen Alliance, Center for American Progress, Clean Water Action, Climate Reality Project, Defend Our Future, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Green the Church, Hispanic Access Foundation, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, Moms Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Trust for Public Land, Union of Concerned Scientists, Voices for Progress, Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association and Asthma, Allergy Foundation of America, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and DSM.

A copy of the bill text is available here.