Legislation

LEGISLATION

In February 2019, as 100 Democratic freshmen entered the House, the “Green New Deal”, a non-binding proposal to fight climate change (originally promoted by the Sunrise Movement — a coalition of young people), was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. Much has been written about the “Deal” including an early editorial by the New York Times . It did not pass but climate moved to center stage.

After the 2020 election, President Biden and the 117th Congress were sworn in. The House remained in Democratic control (222-211)–with two seats vacant (in Louisiana’s 5th district and New York’s 22nd district). Control of the Senate moved to the Democrats (50-50 with the power to cast the tie breaking vote in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris) in a run-off election in Georgia on January 5, 2021 when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won their Senate races.

In 2021 the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed providing historic resources for upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, replacing lead pipes and delivering clean water. It also helps communities safeguard against extreme weather events, catastrophic wildfires, and other climate-related disasters.

After the 2022 election, the 118th Congress was sworn in. The House flipped back into Republic control (222-212 with one vacancy). Control of the Senate stayed in the hands of the Democrats (50-50) with the power to cast the tie-breaking vote  remaining in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris. 

A big win for climate legislation came when the Biden administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, to date the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history. It offers funding, programs, and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and will likely drive significant deployment of new clean electricity resources. 

In 2023 on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) re-introduced their landmark proposal entitled the “Green New Deal.” The Green New Deal proposes to tackle the climate crisis with a 10-year mobilization that puts millions of Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs. Similar to FDR’s New Deal, these jobs would be focused on strengthening the nation’s public infrastructure as well as tackling pollution and climate damage. This has yet to pass.

Founded in 2016, the Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan United States caucus in the House of Representatives and the Senate whose members are committed to taking action in response to the risks of climate change. This group speaks out and votes as a bloc about climate change issues. This group, made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, has introduced legislation to achieve a carbon tax, but some members have not always stayed committed to their climate goals. They have not, as of yet, succeeded in passing any legislation.

CURRENT NEWS

New internal Big Oil documents just dropped

By Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson 04/30/24
In 2021, Congressional Democrats subpoenaed Big Oil for internal documents detailing the industry’s role in worsening the climate crisis. Some of the documents have already been released. But today, we got some more. The internal…
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The Week in Climate Hearings: Inappropriations

By Brad Johnson 04/16/24
Iran’s missile assault against Israel pushed the Republican plans to launch an all-out attack against high-efficiency washing machines off the agenda. The House will now consider several Republican anti-Iran bills instead. Congress is planning to…
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Why Blue States Matter

By Bill McKibben 04/06/24
First of all, immense thanks to all who wrote with kinds words of congratulation about my new grandchild. I confess, it does seem unlikely that with 8 billion people on the planet I would personally…
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Biden Builds a Domestic Green Army

By The Editorial Board 04/02/24
Who says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has no influence? Her vision to mobilize a government Climate Corps to promote green politics is becoming a reality. President Biden wants to shrink the real Army, but his budget…
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How heavy industries contribute to climate change and what can be done to cut emissions

By William Brangham and Shoshana Dubnow 03/29/24
Electricity and transportation each contribute about a quarter of America’s carbon emissions. Thanks to the growth of renewable energy and electric cars, those sectors are starting to get cleaner. Heavy industry is also a major…
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Whitehouse Bill Would Tighten, Clarify Process of Approving Offshore Wind Projects

By Mary Lhowe 01/10/24
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has released an early draft of a proposed bill that would streamline the process of proposing, permitting, and building offshore wind projects, as well as moving the electricity…
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House Speaker Mike Johnson’s First Big Bill Cuts Biden’s Climate Change Funding

By Ari Natter 10/27/23
The first major legislation House Republicans passed under newly installed Speaker Mike Johnson would cut billions of dollars in consumer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades included in President Joe Biden’s signature climate law...
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New House Speaker Champions Fossil Fuels and Dismisses Climate Concerns

By Lisa Friedman 10/26/23
Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the newly elected House speaker, has questioned climate science, opposed clean energy and received more campaign contributions from oil and gas companies than from any other industry last year.
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Update needed for 1872 mining law to boost clean energy, report says

By Timothy Puko 09/12/23
Because of a 151-year-old U.S. mining law, miners hold claims on federal land for years at little cost, work in secret and frequently submit incomplete plans to environmental regulators, according to a new report Tuesday…
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Young environmental activists prevail in first-of-its-kind climate change trial in Montana

By Amy Beth Hanson and Matthew Brown 08/15/23
Young environmental activists scored what experts described as a ground-breaking legal victory Monday when a Montana judge said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel…
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The U.S. Government Will Pay to Remove Carbon from Atmosphere

By Robinson Meyer 08/04/23
The federal government is preparing to pay companies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, launching a first-of-its-kind program that could transform the market for the nascent climate technology, according to people familiar with…
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A Republican 2024 Climate Strategy: More Drilling, Less Clean Energy

By Lisa Friedman 08/04/23
During a summer of scorching heat that has broken records and forced Americans to confront the reality of climate change, conservatives are laying the groundwork for future Republican administration that would dismantle efforts to slow…
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KEY RESOURCES

Inflation Reduction Act Methane Emissions Charge: In Brief

09/01/22
On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed H.R. 5376 (P.L. 117-169), a budget reconciliation measure commonly referred to as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” (IRA). Among other provisions, IRA includes a charge on methane…

Critical Minerals in Electric Vehicle Batteries

08/29/22
Expected growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales has led to concern about securing mineral inputs used in EV batteries. Various countries and companies have stated policies to accelerate the adoption of EVs in the transportation…

Environmental Justice (EJ) Provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act

08/22/22
This table includes provisions with the potential to provide federal benefits to communities with EJ concerns. Direct benefits, where the statute requires benefits to be implemented in or directed towards low-income, tribal, or overburdened communities,…

Modeling The Inflation Reduction Act Using The Energy Policy Simulator

08/18/22
On July 27, 2022, the United States Senate released legislative text for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes $369 billion in funding for climate and clean energy provisions. These emissions-reducing provisions run the gamut…

U.S. Climate Change Policy

10/28/21
The greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere trap radiant energy, warming earth’s surface and oceans. Scientific assessments conclude that GHGs very likely have been the main driver of warming of the earth’s lower atmosphere since…

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scenarios: Background, Issues, and Policy Relevance

06/08/21
Projecting future climate change, and what drives it, is difficult,with many uncertainties. Computer models, however, can be useful tools for exploring the long-term implications of climate change and evaluating policy options. For example, models can…

Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: Issues for Congress

06/08/21
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment andRestoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” Itcontains directives to update the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG),…

Aji P. v. State of Washington

02/15/21
Our Children’s Trust has supported youth plaintiffs in Washington since 2011, most recently in the youth-led constitutional climate case, Aji P. v. State of Washington. Thirteen youth plaintiffs from across the state of Washington filed…

Tracking the future of US recycling policy in Congress

10/26/20
Spurred by market challenges, the Hill has seen a historic influx of big bills. Keep up on all the latest developments with our legislative tracker.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

02/26/20
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.

House Committee on Energy & Commerce – Accomplishments

01/29/20
The Energy and Commerce Committee is working to strengthen the economy, reduce costs for consumers, combat climate change and conduct robust oversight of the Trump Administration. Here is a look at some of the action the…

Carbon Pricing as a Solution to Climate Change

02/14/20
FCNL believes that carbon pricing is one of many essential tools that Congress should use to address climate change and shift towards a clean energy economy. While we have not endorsed any particular bill at…

Legislation Tracker

09/04/19
Keep track of bills and resolutions as they move through the House and/or the Senate on their way to passage as law.

Climate Change Laws of the World

07/24/19
Search the databases by selecting the legislation or the litigation search and applying your search criteria. You can also click here to access laws and policies on our interactive map.

MORE NEWS

Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook and Julia Rock   08/03/23  
The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as…
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America is heavily reliant on Russia for nuclear fuel. Congress might change that.

By Maxine Joselow   08/03/23  
Nearly a year-and-a-half after Russia launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine, Congress appears poised to reduce America’s reliance on Moscow for uranium, the main fuel used by nuclear power plants.
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GOP Effort to Curb ESG Fails to Yield Concrete Results So Far

By Tim Quinson   08/02/23  
For all of the Republican Party’s furious opposition to ESG, its efforts to accomplish something on the legislative front have fallen short.
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New GOP Bill Would Curb Biden’s Power To Fight Climate Change

By Julia Rock   07/19/23  
Republicans are trying to thwart the president’s power to declare a climate emergency amid record-breaking heat. As record heat and wildfire smoke engulf huge swaths of the country, President Joe Biden could free up disaster…
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Republicans’ Deadly Plan to Block Biden From Declaring a Climate Emergency

By Prem Thakker   07/19/23  
Wednesday marks the twentieth day in a row that Phoenix eclipses 110 degrees Fahrenheit—and the next seven days are projected to maintain the record-breaking horror. Thousands of Texans have been going to the emergency room…
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House GOP seeks billions in cuts to rail, water infrastructure spending

By Tony Romm and Ian Duncan   07/18/23  
It took decades for Congress to deliver on its promise to pour new money into the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and internet connections.
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Senate adds language blocking gas stove ban to appropriations bill

By Rachel Frazin   07/14/23  
Language blocking a ban on gas stoves has been incorporated into a bipartisan Senate appropriations bill, giving it a significant chance to ultimately become law.
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House OKs defense bill blocking Biden climate action

By Andres Picon   07/14/23  
House Republicans on Friday muscled through the annual defense policy bill, including one provision that would block the Defense Department from implementing President Joe Biden’s climate orders. The final vote on the National Defense Authorization…
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Republicans Move to Gut Climate Funding Amid Heatwaves, Floods, and Smog Storms

By Prem Thakker   07/13/23  
Millions of Americans have been enveloped in throat-scratching smog, have lost their homes and livelihoods in catastrophic floods, and have been facing extreme heat bubbles that have left people collapsing and even dying. Meanwhile, Republicans…
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A new soil carbon bill breaks ground

By Cristel Zoebisch   07/12/23  
It is a big day for land-based carbon removal policy. Today, Senators Smith (D-MN) and Young (R-IN) introduced the Advancing Research on Agricultural Climate Impacts Act (ARACI), a critical roadmap to scaling monitoring, reporting, and…
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A bipartisan plan to punish global climate laggards: Tax them

By Maxine Joselow   06/07/23  
In a rare example of a bipartisan climate policy, momentum is growing on Capitol Hill for a plan to tax imports from China and other countries with looser environmental standards.
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The GOP may target the climate law again — this time in the farm bill

By Maxine Joselow   06/06/23  
Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! It’s that time of year again when we’re loving the “stellar” warm weather, as our friends at the Capital Weather Gang described it, but fending off the…
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Markey bill would restore ban on US fossil fuel exports

By Zack Budryk   05/18/23  
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Thursday that will reimpose a ban on U.S. fossil fuel exports, citing environmental hazards and possible impacts on domestic prices.
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U.S. Sen. Manchin joins effort to repeal Biden solar tariff waiver

04/28/23  
April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Joe Manchin on Wednesday threw his support behind a legislative effort to repeal President Joe Biden's suspension of tariffs on solar panel imports from four Southeast Asian nations that…
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Congress should adopt 30% tax credit, streamlined permitting for regional transmission, clean grid group says

By Ethan Howland   04/26/23  
Permitting reform appears possible despite the divided Congress, Brett White, Pine Gate Renewables’ vice president for regulatory affairs, said Tuesday.
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Climate Change Is Walloping US Farms. Can This Farm Bill Create Real Solutions?

By Lisa Held   04/26/23  
Increasingly, she has had to contend with extreme weather: early frosts threaten her fall crops. False springs have caused her winter crops to bolt too soon. Rain comes all at once and then not at…
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The Debt Ceiling Debate Is About More Than Debt

By Jim Tankersley   04/21/23  
Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California has repeatedly said that he and his fellow House Republicans are refusing to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, and risking economic catastrophe, to force a reckoning on America’s $31 trillion…
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Snot otters and other wildlife are not rock stars. Should they be saved?

By Maxine Joselow and Dino Grandoni   04/05/23  
Pandas. Polar bears. Mountain lions. All are examples of what ecologists call “charismatic megafauna,” a term for critters that spark squeals of delight at the zoo and grace the glossy brochures of conservation groups.
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House GOP passes energy package with eye on gas prices, 2024

By Maxine Joselow and Marianna Sotomayor   03/30/23  
House Republicans passed legislation Thursday that would increase oil drilling and mining on public lands and waters, defying President Biden’s climate agenda and fulfilling a campaign promise to focus on lowering gasoline prices ahead of…
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Congressional Democrats call on EPA to tighten proposed soot standards

By Zack Budryk   03/28/23  
More than 80 congressional Democrats, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), urged the Biden administration to strengthen proposed rules on soot pollution in a letter Tuesday.
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Why House Republicans are really prioritizing an energy package

By Maxine Joselow   03/28/23  
Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! Our colleague Marianna Sotomayor, who covers the House, helped report the top of today’s edition.
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What is in House Republicans’ energy policy package?

By Rachel Frazin   03/28/23  
House Republicans effectively named energy policy as their top priority when they introduced an energy package, known as H.R. 1, earlier in March. On Tuesday, the chamber started debate on the bill.
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What is in House Republicans’ energy policy package?

By Rachel Frazin   03/28/23  
House Republicans effectively named energy policy as their top priority when they introduced an energy package, known as H.R. 1, earlier in March. On Tuesday, the chamber started debate on the bill.
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House GOP votes to overturn Biden rule on water protections

By Matthew Daly and Michael Phillis   03/09/23  
The House on Thursday.........
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Same message, bigger audience: Sen. Whitehouse flags climate costs

By Coral Davenport   03/07/23  
For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch....
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Senate overturns federal rule on ESG investments, Biden vows to veto

By Christina Wilkie   03/01/23  
The Senate on Wednesday voted to overturn a Labor Department rule that permits fiduciary retirement fund managers to consider climate change, good corporate governance and other factors when making investments on behalf of pension plan…
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How Congress funded carbon removal in FY23 appropriations

By Vanessa Suarez   02/21/23  
2022 was another invigorating year for carbon dioxide removal (CDR), with historic milestones like the passage of the biggest federal climate deal in history and over $1 billion authorized for carbon removal research, development, and…
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Chairman Whitehouse Statement on CBO Outlook

02/15/23  
Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement following the annual release of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook and a projection that the debt limit must…
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U.S. lawmakers seek repeal of Biden solar tariff waiver

By Nichola Groom   01/27/23  
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday introduced a resolution to repeal President Joe Biden's suspension of import tariffs on solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations, according to…
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Recently Passed Federal Funding Package Makes Investments in Natural Climate Solutions

By National Audubon Society   12/23/22  
The Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bill includes important wins for climate and conservation, though fails to include important legislation that would greatly benefit wildlife.
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Senate rejects Manchin’s energy permitting amendment to defense bill

By Rachel Frazin   12/15/22  
The Senate has bucked Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) latest effort to get his energy deal with Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) attached to must-pass legislation.
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Democrats Have a New Plan to Fight Plastic Pollution

By Joseph Winters   12/05/22  
As international negotiators began hammering out the details of a global plastics treaty last week, legislators in the United States were busy unveiling a domestic policy to address the plastic pollution crisis.
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Booker, Huffman, Merkley, Lowenthal Introduce Legislation to Address Plastic Production Crisis

12/01/22  
Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-2nd), together with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47th), introduced the Protecting Communities from Plastics Act, legislation that addresses the plastic…
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Analysis: U.S. House Republican farm bill approach may test Biden hunger, climate goals

By Leah Douglas   11/19/22  
U.S. President Joe Biden's pledges to slash emissions from farming and to end American hunger by 2030 may be harder to realize now that Republicans flipped the House of Representatives with a thin majority. Biden's…
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What the unusual midterm elections mean for climate action

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman   11/17/22  
A split Congress makes it unlikely that Republicans will undo Biden’s climate legislation, but they’re likely to try to slow it. There may also be room for agreement on infrastructure....
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5 energy, environment issues in bull’s-eye for House GOP

By Jeremy Dillon   11/17/22  
Republicans clinched a narrow House majority Wednesday night, and executive agencies are now bracing for a flood of GOP-led oversight inquiries into Biden administration energy and environment decisionmaking. Republican lawmakers have made clear which policies…
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Joe Biden just signed an international climate treaty. And Mitch McConnell voted for it.

By Umair Irfan   10/28/22  
President Joe Biden signed a bona fide international climate treaty on Wednesday, one that was ratified in the Senate with bipartisan support in a 69-27 vote. Twenty-one Republicans supported ratification in September, including Minority Leader…
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See everything the White House wanted, and everything it got

By Aatish Bhatia, Francesca Paris and Margot Sanger-Katz   10/20/22  
The first two years of the Biden administration have included huge legislative victories: a major bipartisan infrastructure deal, a technology bill, a veterans’ health bill, a gun safety bill, and a package of new investments…
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Manchin’s bill dropped from govt. funding package

09/28/22  
Joe Manchin’s bill to fast-track energy permitting, including the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline was not part of the short-term government funding package passed by the Senate on Tuesday. The bill — crafted by Manchin’s staff…
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The Senate Just Quietly Passed a Major Climate Treaty

By Robinson Meyer   09/28/22  
What if the Senate passed an international climate treaty—a pact so powerful that it could avert nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit of global warming—and nobody noticed?
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Clash over energy projects could threaten government funding bill

By Jacob Bogage   09/21/22  
Democrats want to include Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal in legislation to avoid a shutdown. Republicans don’t.
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Senate Ratifies Pact to Curb a Broad Category of Potent Greenhouse Gases

By Lisa Friedman and Others   09/21/22  
The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve an international climate treaty for the first time in 30 years, agreeing in a rare bipartisan deal to phase out of the use of planet-warming industrial chemicals commonly…
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Senate approves first climate treaty in decades

By Alex Guillen   09/21/22  
The Senate ratified its first international climate treaty in three decades on Wednesday, approving an agreement worked out in 2016 that will phase down refrigerant chemicals that are among the most potent climate pollutants. While…
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Three Congressional Hearings on Climate Disinfo Bring New Industry Documents to Light

09/17/22  
PR firms are paid to engage in unethical tactics that intimidate and silence Americans who are exercising their rights to support actions that combat climate change wealthy and powerful corporate entities are dragging citizens and…
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Manchin’s big energy deal draws pushback from many Dems

By Kevin Freking   09/10/22  
Democrats desperately needed the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to get their signature legislative priority across the finish. So they did what Washington does best: They cut a deal. To help land…
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Progressive Revolt Against Manchin’s Energy Side Deal Could Snarl Government Funding

By Jonathan Nicholsan   09/10/22  
Seventy-two House Democrats, including several committee chairs, warned House leadership Friday not to agree to ease restrictions on new energy projects in the push to keep the federal government funded past Sept. 30. The warning…
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Dozens of House Democrats urge Pelosi to split permitting from funding bill

By Josh Siegel   09/09/22  
A group of 72 House Democrats led by Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent a letter Friday to party leaders urging them to split a contentious proposal on energy permitting from the upcoming…
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Permitting bill could pass over objections of liberals, activists

By Maxine Joselow and Others   09/09/22  
Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! Today we're reading this E&E News article about how Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday at 96, spent decades advocating for climate action. (As a former E&E…
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Sanders blasts permitting reform as Democrats’ divide grows

By Nick Sobczyk and Others   09/09/22  
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Thursday he would oppose a stopgap government spending measure that includes forthcoming permitting legislation, underscoring progressive resistance to the bill amid protests by environmental groups. Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses…
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White House policies rescued U.S. economy, Treasury’s Yellen says

By Chelsey Cox   09/08/22  
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised Biden administration’s economic policies Thursday during a speech at a Ford Motor Company electric vehicle plant in Michigan.
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