Durbin Introduces Bill to Invest in a Clean Climate Future and Spur Job Creation

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced the introduction of America’s Clean Future Fund Act, a bill that would spur job creation by investing in a clean energy economy. The bill would achieve critical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate a fair transition for workers from declining energy sectors, and renew America’s commitment to remain a world leader in technology, innovation, and a sustainable future. The bill also would provide $50 billion in its first year for investments in clean energy projects to help stimulate the economy while guiding America’s transition to a zero-carbon emissions economy. This funding also provides protections to consumers, support to workers in vulnerable industries, and assistance to communities most affected by climate change.  After 2023, these programs will be funded by the revenues of a carbon fee. 

“We must act urgently on the threat climate change poses if we want to pass on a livable planet to our kids and grandkids,” Durbin said. “The America’s Clean Future Fund Act makes clean energy investments that will spur economic growth, but ensure we don’t leave anyone behind in the move towards a cleaner economy. This bill can be an important part of a comprehensive plan to protect our environment and combat climate change.”

According to the most recent National Climate Assessment, climate change is expected to lead to the loss of American lives, infrastructure, and property.  It is also expected to slow the rate of economic growth this century.  The global average temperature could increase 9°F or more by the end of the century. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report called for “rapid and far-reaching” transitions to limit the damage of climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. 

Specifically, the bill would do the following:

·       Climate Change Finance Corporation (C2FC).  Establish an independent federal agency to finance and support investment and job creation in clean energy projects, climate resilience, and research, development, and deployment.  At least 40 percent of C2FC grant funds will be directed to benefit environmental justice communities.

·       Transition Assistance for Impacted Communities.  Provide grants to states and local governments, non-profits, and community-based organizations for transition assistance in communities that are moving from carbon-intensive industries, and to frontline and environmental justice communities.  

·       Agricultural Decarbonization Transition Payments.  Helps eligible producers in the agricultural, livestock, and forestry sectors to finance the transition to improved carbon-reduction practices that will allow their participation in private sector greenhouse gas credit markets.

·       Rebates to Individuals and Refunds for Carbon Capture.  To protect consumers, approximately 75 percent of carbon fee revenues are paid directly to low- and middle-income individuals through quarterly rebates. Payments will also be provided to qualifying facilities that capture, store, and/or utilize carbon.  

·       A Delayed Onset Fee on Carbon.  In 2023, a carbon fee of $25 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent will be applied to upstream sources (and to non-fossil fuel high emission facilities in 2025). The fee would increase by $10 per year above the consumer price index.

The bill is supported by the following organizations: EDF, C2ES, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL).