Environment & Climate Change
The state of Michigan is home to breathtaking landscapes, treasured resources, miles of trails, campgrounds, and some of the best hunting and fishing. Our environment is cherished by all those who live here, as well as all who travel here from around the world—fighting to protect clean air, clean water, natural resources, and environmental justice is so important our future generations.
For decades, the science and our understanding of climate change has been growing, but it is clear, it is an urgent, existential threat we all face. Sea levels are rising, temperatures are warming, and extreme weather is intensifying and becoming more frequent. The time to act on climate change is now and strong US leadership on the world’s stage is needed. This begins by ensuring America honors its commitments under the Paris Agreement and followed up by taking bold actions to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions to zero—this includes shifting our economy to one run on renewable energy sources that is strong, competitive, and fair: investing in research and development to advance technology and new, clean industries; and explore all policy options that will empower states and local governments, strengthen communities, consider vulnerable populations, and supports the American worker.
That’s why I have introduced the 100% Clean Economy Act, which implements the UN recommendation that our nation transition to a net-zero carbon emissions economy by 2050. This is a critical part of our commitment to tackling climate change.
To get to a fully clean economy, we need comprehensive efforts to spur innovation in the economy, technology, and society. For those reasons, I have introduced the National Climate Bank of 2019. Establishing the bank will serve as an important implementation tool to achieve this goal by publicly financing and stimulating private investments in clean, renewable energy projects, clean transportation, and support communities most effected by climate change. The National Climate Bank Act builds on the successful Green Bank example in Michigan, and mobilizes investment directly into the greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects most in need of capital. The expansion of these projects will create good jobs, a strong future workforce, and deliver a clean economy that works for communities in Michigan and across the country.
The transportation sector accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so any comprehensive solution to climate change must incorporate policies that speeds our transition to electric vehicles. I am proud to lead that charge in Congress by introducing the USA Electrify Forward Act. This critical legislation accelerates domestic manufacturing of batteries, power electronics, and other technologies in plug-in vehicles to make electric cars more efficient and match consumer expectations; makes low- or no-interest loans available to manufacturers to re-tool and adapt existing facilities to build electric vehicles and create good-paying jobs; and updates residential building codes to encourage electric vehicle charging facilities into new multi-family buildings so consumers can get a charge at home. We must ensure that we are supporting efforts that accelerates US development, production, manufacturing and distribution of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.
Finally, we must also promote education programs focused on climate to improve the public’s understanding of changes. The Climate Change Education Act gives the next generation of leaders the knowledge and skills needed to address sever weather, rising sea levels, and droughts devastating our communities. Only 30 percent of middle school teachers and only 45 percent of high school science teachers understand the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change, according to Yale University Research.
The Trump Administration has rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations including protections for clean air, clean water, and wildlife protections. These rollbacks and dismantling of decades old laws could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air quality threatening public health. For fifty years, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been the bedrock of conservation law and preserved the environment, human health, and the people’s voice in policy decisions. NEPA’s directive is clear: the government must consider how a project will affect the environment, and communities and people affected by the projects must have a fair chance to weigh in on its merits. I led a resolution in Congress to oppose the NEPA rollbacks to protect people’s voice in policy decisions.
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, this will be at the center of my work and a top, overarching priority for Michigan.