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February 12, 2020

King: False Choice “Between a Thriving Economy or a Healthy Environment”

King joins 32 colleagues to introduce legislation putting U.S. on path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined 32 of his Senate colleagues to introduce legislation that would put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050. The Clean Economy Act addresses the need for bold climate action and at the same time boosts American competitiveness, promotes healthier communities and fosters a growing economy that works for everyone. Specifically, the bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its existing authority to put the United States on a path toward achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

“Climate change is the most pressing existential threat we face – but it is also an opportunity for America to lead the way into the economy of the future,” said Senator King. “We have a chance to act boldly and create a clean energy economy that taps into American innovation and lets us fulfill our most basic duty: passing a better world on to our children than the one we received. We don’t have to choose between a thriving economy or a healthy environment – we can have both, if we’re ready to do the work.”

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. By providing clear direction from Congress, the Clean Economy Act mandates EPA and other federal agencies to use authorities and tools already available to them to rapidly achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while fostering a stronger, fairer economy for all Americans.

This net-zero legislation is supported collectively 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, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), and DSM.

A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions wherever they can be found and a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, Senator King is the lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency and research on clean energy technologies, such as the Joint Long-Term Storage Act, which seeks to speed up deployment of long-duration energy storage technologies through strategic collaboration between federal agencies. He is a cosponsor of the Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019 which would put the U.S. on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050. Senator King focused the December 2019 edition of Inside Maine on the impact of climate change in Maine, as well as emerging bipartisan solutions to address this global existential crisis. In July, Senator King took to the Senate floor to urge bold and meaningful action to mitigate the threat of climate change. He also continues to speak out to encourage the administration to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and reaffirm U.S. leadership in the fight against global climate change.

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