By Jeff Brady
Clean energy and climate advocates say the huge stimulus bill Congress is negotiating should address not only the economy, but also climate change. But a split over that appears to have contributed to delays in passing the bill.
“Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday.
McConnell said Democrats were filibustering the $1 trillion-plus bill hoping to include policies such as extending tax credits for solar and wind energy.
McConnell says this is the wrong time to debate policies like these, and the focus should be on addressing the effects of the pandemic. But others argue now is precisely the right time to think about climate change.
“We can both stimulate the economy … and we can lay the foundation for a lower-carbon future,” says economist Michael Greenstone, who served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.
In addition to renewable energy tax credits, Greenstone says the federal government should invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and deploying batteries to store electricity from intermittent sources like the sun and wind.
Advancing clean energy was a major focus of President Obama’s stimulus plan after the 2008 economic downturn.