WH Eyes New Climate Change Strategies 10/26 06:14
The White House is zeroing in on a package of clean energy strategies for
President Joe Biden's big domestic policy bill that officials believe could
reach similar greenhouse gas emission reduction goals as an initial proposal
that was quashed by opposition.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is zeroing in on a package of clean
energy strategies for President Joe Biden's big domestic policy bill that
officials believe could reach similar greenhouse gas emission reduction goals
as an initial proposal that was quashed by opposition.
The Biden administration discussed the proposals Monday at the White House
with the leaders of about a dozen environmental and justice groups, according
to a senior administration official who requested anonymity to share the plans.
A new approach was needed after coal-state Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., rejected
the White House's earlier clean energy plan.
The emerging proposals would expand grants and loans in the agriculture and
industrial sectors to help them shift to clean energy providers with fewer
greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, the official said.
There would also be new, refundable home improvement tax credits for tapping
solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. The official said momentum was
building as the group coalesced around the new ideas.
The new strategies come as the president and Democrats in Congress are
struggling to wrap up talks on Biden's now-scaled-back package of at least
$1.75 trillion in social services and climate change investments before he
departs later this week for two global summits overseas.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited the afternoon meeting with the leaders
of some of the nation's leading environmental and justice organizations and
reiterated the president's commitment to the goals of the package -- even as
she acknowledged the sometimes grueling process to achieve consensus in the
"The president and I and our administration are unwavering in our commitment
to these issues. Absolutely unwavering," she said. "But you know, there's an
old saying, you don't want to watch sausage be made and you don't want to watch
a bill being made."
A cornerstone of Biden's climate change strategy had been a clean energy
plan that would have rewarded power providers that use clean sources and
penalized those that don't.
But that approach had to be scrapped when Manchin objected. With Republicans
fully opposed to Biden's big package, the president needs the support of all
Democrats in the 50-50 split Senate, with no votes to spare.
The senior administration official said the administration was not wedded to
one clean-energy strategy as a "silver bullet."
Instead, the administration is coalescing around the new package of
strategies that the official said could potentially reach the same emission
reduction goals without adding new costs to the overall proposed budget.
It's unclear if the new proposals would be acceptable to Manchin. He has
preferred an approach that does not favor one industry over the other as coal
begins to be phased out for cleaner energy sources.
The new strategies appear to use more incentives to encourage clean energy
use rather than penalties for failing to make the transition, which could help
win over Manchin. But climate change advocates have argued that penalties are
needed to get industries to more quickly turn to cleaner sources as the world
races to confront the dire threats of climate change.
The grants and loans for the agricultural sector would help rural electric
cooperatives transition to cleaner energy sources, which could be of interest
to Manchin in his rural state.
Similarly, industrial steel, cement and aluminum plants could tap funds to
beef up their use of greener sources, the official said. There would also be
expanded home improvement tax credits.
Biden is heading later this week to global summits including the U.N.
climate change conference in Scotland and he wants a deal in hand as he hopes
to reposition the U.S. as a world leader on the issue.
Democrats have been coalescing around an overall plan in Biden's package
that offers tax credits and spending to boost renewable power such as wind and
solar and sharply increase the number of electric vehicles. Advocates think the
plan, plus executive branch action such as a pending EPA rule to curb methane
emissions, and action by states, should be enough to meet or nearly meet
Biden's goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, compared with