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House Republicans plan to unveil legislation in the coming weeks designed to set parameters for President Joe Biden's reengagement in the Paris climate agreement he just rejoined.
The bill will be part of a package of climate legislation House Republicans aim to roll out to counter a virtual climate summit event the Biden administration is hosting on Earth Day with the leaders of top greenhouse gas-emitting countries, people familiar with the discussions told the Washington Examiner.
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Hosting the summit April 22-23 was one of Biden's campaign promises as a means toward encouraging countries to strengthen their commitments as part of the Paris Agreement.
The Republican legislation, which is still being finalized, would likely require Biden to report to Congress before he submits a target to reduce emissions under the Paris climate agreement. Biden has promised to announce an aggressive pledge before the climate summit for the United States to cut emissions by 50% or more by 2030, a target that would nearly double the Obama administration's commitment from 2016.
The legislative package is being led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, who wants to demonstrate that the GOP has its own agenda to address climate change but that the party disagrees with the aggressive path being charted by Biden and Democrats in Congress.
Biden's $2.3 infrastructure plan contains massive spending and regulations to combat climate change, including subsidies to spur electric vehicles, a mandate to eliminate carbon emissions from the power sector by 2035, and tax incentives to build up U.S. capacity to manufacture clean energy technologies.
The Republican legislation, some of which will include new versions of previously introduced bills, will have a narrower focus and won't include mandated limits on emissions.
There will be measures promoting innovation in clean energy technologies through research and development spending.
Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, the top Republican of the Natural Resources Committee, will introduce a new version of his "Trillion Trees Act" to plant trees to absorb carbon.
Other legislation would spur domestic production of critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines.
Another bill would streamline permitting of energy projects under the National Environmental Policy Act.
There will also be elements to support carbon capture project deployment and finance the build-out of the pipelines needed to carry captured carbon dioxide to where it can be stored underground.
Many of the ideas, on their own, are supported by Democrats. Republicans are likely to argue their ideas have a more realistic shot at getting bipartisan support, compared to the more aggressive measures in Biden's infrastructure plan.
It's a continuation of an effort started by McCarthy last year, before the pandemic, for Republicans to overhaul their climate change platform and messaging to compete with Democrats and the Biden administration. House Republicans are also responding to polls over the last few years that have shown the party is vulnerable among young and suburban voters concerned about the environment and climate change.
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"Last year, there was a lot of progress shifting where the center of gravity was within the conference," said Quill Robinson, director of government affairs at the American Conservation Coalition, a group of young Republicans. "Congressional Republicans have a really important opportunity now with a Democratic congress and president to actually contrast their policy approach."
Tags: News, Energy and Environment, Kevin McCarthy, Paris Agreement, Climate Change, Infrastructure
Original Author: Josh Siegel
Original Location: House Republicans plan legislation to counter Biden's climate summit and Paris Agreement reentrance