WASHINGTON — “This package presented a missed opportunity to make meaningful bi-partisan progress in modernizing our energy system,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy at the National Audubon Society. “We thank Senators Murkowski and Manchin for their leadership, and we will continue to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to push for meaningful action. Our research shows that we are at a critical moment. We must find a way to rapidly reduce emissions, invest in clean energy innovation, and increase energy storage capacity to slow global temperatures, and protect the places that birds and people need to survive.”
Among the priority bills championed by Audubon that were included in the package were 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.
Senators had also introduced a number of amendments that would have made a positive impact on climate mitigation, if included. The list includes amendments that would extend and expand a number of clean energy tax incentives, proactively plan the development of renewable energy on public lands, extend the moratorium on fossil fuel leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for an additional 10 years, and phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases primarily used as coolants. Adoption of these amendments would have strengthened the underlying legislation.
“We hope the House of Representatives will take this opportunity to introduce their own bipartisan package of energy legislation that can help build the foundation for an economy-wide transition to clean energy,” said Greenberger. “The House should build on the Senate’s proposal by ensuring robust funding for innovation around renewables, energy storage, and industrial emissions.”
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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