The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, (SEEC), will officially launch the task forces on Wednesday. These task forces will focus on the effects of climate change on national security and agriculture.
Jim Langevin and Katie Porter will cochair the Climate and National Security Task Force. Kim Schrier and Chellie Peingree, a SEEC vice-chair, will cochair the Climate and Agriculture Task Force. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sean Casten will cochair the Power Sector Task Force.
According to a news release, the power sector task force “will build upon the important down payments made under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” and will focus on additional actions necessary to decarbonize US electricity. The power taskforce will focus on how to reform and modernize the US power transmission to make it as efficient as possible.
Casten stated that in order to combat the climate crisis with urgency, we must move to a carbon-neutral economic as soon as possible. Casten also said that decarbonizing the US’ power sector is necessary.
In a statement, Pingree and Schrier stated that their agriculture group would investigate how farmers can sequester carbon from soil and practice sustainable farming. They also plan to look into ways to protect farmers against extreme weather that damages crops.
Schrier stated that ranchers and farmers are the most affected by the climate crisis. “Droughts and fires are affecting their livelihoods.”
The national security task force will examine both how the US military can reduce its carbon footprint and how global warming impacts foreign policy and migration.
Langevin stated in a statement that “we must be clear about addressing operational threats caused by climate change — such a compromised readiness and increased global instability – and embrace the role of our military in the fight against it.”
Even with the creation of new task forces, a lot of Democrats’ climate agenda rests on the fate of Biden’s Build back Better Act, which includes $555 billion in climate and clean-energy programs. Since late last year, negotiations on the bill have been deadlocked. Most Democrats believe that the bill’s overall cost will be reduced to win Manchin’s support.
“In terms of how to proceed, I think that the climate part of the package offers an option,” Ron Wyden, Chair of Senate Finance Committee, stated to CNN in a statement. “We need Senator Manchin’s vote, so it is important that we meet him where he stands.”
Wyden said that Democrats could “package climate” with other items, such as lowering the cost for health care, and put forward a proposal to which Manchin would agree.
Even though Sens. Tina Smith of Minnesota and Ed Markey of Massachusetts are calling for urgent action to pass the bill. However, they are not calling for a climate-only legislation.
Smith stated that if there is agreement on climate provisions, then we should think about what else we can agree on and do it.” Smith spoke to CNN. “It’s all about getting 50 votes.”