On Climate, House Democrats Move in the Right Direction

Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program

Note: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives today unveiled a climate plan aimed at lowering U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Although we are still reviewing the full report, it appears to get the most important things right: It’s a comprehensive plan that, in broad brushstrokes, is aligned with platforms like the U.S. Climate Action Network’s Vision for Equitable Climate Action – an equity-centered plan on the scale needed to respond to the climate emergency that is grounded in strong standards and smart investments.

Surely there will be disagreements on details. But the report appears to contain the main elements needed to ward off climate catastrophe and build a more equitable and just economy while creating millions of jobs, boosting public health and saving trillions of dollars.

We’re also pleased that the report includes a policy that should get special attention as we head into what’s likely to be the hottest summer on record: The report recommends that Congress pass U.S. Rep. Judy Chu’s (D-Calif.) Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2019 (H.R. 3668), which would require the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write a rule protecting workers from heat stress.

As we work to prevent the climate crisis from worsening, it’s critical that we protect people from climate harms that are already occurring or are locked in for the coming decades. We especially need to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, like essential workers now laboring under the combined threats of COVID-19 and extreme heat.

We commend the committee for its hard work and leadership on this issue. It is a monumental achievement that the House is now discussing and beginning to work on comprehensive solutions to the climate crisis.