"If the federal government does not act now and bring people together to solve this challenge, we will fail to protect future generations of Americans from the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
by Andrea Germanos
Amid devastating hurricanes, historic flooding, epic wildfires, and the Trump administration's ongoing war on climate science, a newly introduced bill is receiving accolades for offering a bold blueprint to ditch fossil fuels and create an equitable transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act), introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), "rises to the challenge of what science requires to avert the worst of the climate chaos still ahead, while mandating a just and swift transition to renewables," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, stated Friday.
Referencing the consequences of climate change already felt by her home state of Hawaii, Gabbard said the bill was necessary because it's "long past time for the federal government to take action for the sake of our people, our planet, and our future."
Specifically, the bill calls for (pdf) a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, including pipelines, exploration, and import or export terminals; ends fossil fuel subsidies and directs those funds instead to the clean energy transition; funds weatherization for low-income communities; extends tax credits for wind and solar; bans crude oil and LNG exports; and supports workers by "prioritiz[ing] maximizing employment opportunities [in the renewable sector] for fossil fuel workers displaced in the transition to renewable energy, and residents of areas identified as Environmental Justice."
"By investing in green technologies and ending corporate hand-outs to the fossil fuel industry, we can grow the economy, create good jobs, and protect our environment. The promise of a clean energy economy is one of skilled, good-paying jobs, advanced and sustainable infrastructure, and clean and safe neighborhoods," Gabbard said.
"If the federal government does not act now and bring people together to solve this challenge," Gabbard warned, "we will fail to protect future generations of Americans from the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change."
The communities nationwide in the throes of devastating storms as well as President Donald Trump's "continuing to lead the denialist fray in Washington" lay bare what's at stake if such urgent climate action isn't taken, Hauter argues.
The OFF Act "won’t be in time to address the fire and fury reigning down on us now," she adds, "but if we act immediately, we will be able to avoid the worst impacts climate chaos holds for us and our children down the road."
The bill counts Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Nanette Barragán (Calif.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), and Keith Ellison (Minn.) as co-sponsors.
The new legislation coincides this week with a call from hundreds of organizations worldwide demanding a global transition to achieve low carbon future.
As Common Dreams reported Thursday, the signers of the Lofoten Declaration argue that the "continued expansion of oil, coal, and gas is only serving to hinder the inevitable transition while at the same time exacerbating conflicts, fueling corruption, threatening biodiversity, clean water and air, and infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable communities."
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