WASHINGTON (February 27, 2020) – “Senators Murkowski and Manchin have demonstrated important leadership in advancing investments that will modernize our energy system,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation at the National Audubon Society. “Our own research has shown that if we do nothing to slow the increase of global temperatures, two-thirds of bird species in North America will be vulnerable to extinction, so ambitious plans to eliminate carbon emissions are urgently needed. Parts of today’s package present good opportunities, but to take full advantage of the opportunity this legislation presents, Congress should add additional clean energy incentives and must eliminate problematic provisions that take us backward.”
Today, Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package of energy bills that contains several pieces of legislation that would help modernize our electricity grid, address industrial emissions, improve energy efficiency of buildings, and invest in the innovation of low- and zero-carbon technology, among other issues. However, the package also contains some bills that would slow progress toward a clean energy future.
“This package represents what should be the start of an important bipartisan effort to address our energy needs,” said Greenberger. “Both parties must continue to work together to incorporate a full range of solutions that are based in science and scaled to address the urgency of the climate crisis. We look forward to building and improving upon this package to advance the best policies for birds and people before this legislation becomes the law of the land.”
Among the priority bills championed by Audubon are the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, the Clean Industrial Technology Act (CITA) to reduce emissions in the industrial sector, and reauthorization of the ARPA-E program, which funds research and innovation in energy.
Of serious concern are bills including the Small Scale LNG Access Act (S.816) would allow for expedited approvals of liquefied natural gas exports, which would keep focus on continued domestic production of fossil fuels instead of rapid deployment of clean energy.
“We are at a critical moment where any new legislation should work to eliminate emissions from our economy through methods like fuel switching, increased efficiency, carbon capture, and natural solutions,” said Greenberger. “Congress must prioritize those actions without dismantling the bedrock laws that protect our environment, and must include provisions that facilitate investment in clean energy resources like the clean energy tax incentives that were left off of the year-end spending bill in December 2019.”
Last year, Audubon released Survival By Degrees, a report that found that two-thirds of North American birds are vulnerable to extinction from climate change unless dramatic action is taken immediately. The earth’s temperature is on a course to rise 3 degrees Celsius by 2080, which could prove disastrous. By keeping that rise in check even by half, the vast majority of bird species could be preserved.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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