- Last Thursday marked President Biden’s 100th day in office. Look at where President Biden stands on promises made before being sworn in — from climate to COVID-19 to the economy, and more.
- This past week was a surprisingly (and refreshingly) positive week for congressional bipartisanship:
- Last Wednesday, Republicans joined Senate Democrats in restoring Obama-era climate rule regarding the use of greenhouse gas methane. Senators Rob Portman (OH), Susan Collins (ME), and Lindsay Graham (SC) were the 3 Republicans who joined the 49 Democrats in voting in favor of the resolution.
- On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan $35 Billion water infrastructure bill on an 89-2 vote.
- The EPA proposed a rule on Monday phasing down hydrocarbons, a pollutant thousands of times more harmful than carbon dioxide in warming the planet which is widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning. The proposal seems to have broad bipartisan support.
- Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the committee with jurisdiction over climate policy — held their first hearing on the CLEAN Future Act, arguably the signature climate bill in the U.S. House.
- Tomorrow (Thursday) Energy Secretary and former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm will be discussing the department’s budget requests before the House Appropriations Energy Subcommittee.
- Michigan congressman Andy Levin is re-introducing legislation today called the EV Freedom Act that would build a nationwide network of public electric vehicle charging stations over the next five years.
Over the past two weeks, President Biden has begun to lay out his major climate plans, first during the virtual global climate summit he convened with other world leaders early last week, and then during his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening. Among his top goals are an ambitious plan to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, build a clean energy workforce that will spur the economy while reducing climate impacts, support vulnerable countries to adapt and build resilience to climate change, and lead on global cooperation knowing that 85% of carbon emissions come from outside the U.S. On the whole, his plans seem to complement Michigan’s ambitious investments in clean energy and climate, as highlighted by the Governor Whitmer’s MI Clean Water Plan and MI Healthy Climate Plan that were rolled out last fall. Most specifically, Governor Whitmer’s plan calls for the same goal of decarbonization by 2050 and boosting the statewide economy by investing in clean energy jobs (aided by the strong commitments by GM, Ford, and other major auto companies).
Michigan will undoubtedly play a role in President Biden’s ability to achieve his lofty goals. On climate change, Michigan’s role as the country’s largest source of freshwater and at the center of a growing clean energy and electric vehicle movement means that it will need to be a key player in any national plan to reduce carbon. Politically, despite losing a congressional seat following the most recent census, all signs point to Michigan remaining one of the most consequential players in presidential and congressional politics that will define federal policy around water and climate issues — and who is elected to enact those policies — for years and decades to come.
On the Brighter Side
While the climate conversation can often be seen as “doom and gloom,” The Guardian columnist Rebecca Solnit makes a compelling case for climate optimism in this week’s column.
Thank you, as always, for your support. We’ll be back next week with more federal policy updates.