Responding to what appears to be pressure from the Green New Deal and increasing calls to act, Senate Republicans are expected to introduce a series of bills this week intended to respond to the climate crisis.
“We think climate change is real, man is contributing to the problem and innovation, not regulation, and here is some innovative technologies we should invest in to get to a lower carbon economy,” South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, long an advocate for climate action, said.
“My preferred method is through innovation,” Texas Senator John Cornyn explained in an interview. “This is basically trying to get out of the way and let the free enterprise system create the solution other than government regulation.” Last week, the former member of Senate leadership said “the days of ignoring this issue are over.” According to Bloomberg, his bill would focus on incentivizing carbon capture, including emissions from natural gas.
Senator Susan Collins is joining ranks with Senator Martin Heinrich, Democrat from New Mexico on a bill to decrease the cost of grid-scale energy storage.
A Clean Energy Investment Fund is also under development, which could fund carbon capture and advanced nuclear. And Wyoming Senator John Barrasso with West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito have requested the Treasury Department provide guidance on implementing the carbon capture utilization and storage tax credit program. The program passed a year ago, but taxpayers haven’t been able to tap into the credit.
All this is happening as major U.S. corporations call for action on climate change. A recently formed group called the CEO Climate Dialogue includes BP, Royal Dutch Shell, DuPont, Dominion Energy and Ford and is calling for an 80 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gases by 2050. “The fact that there are several business coalitions working to advance federal climate legislation demonstrates that demand for U.S. climate action is growing, and that a wide range of companies are keen to drive progress in Congress,” the group says.