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House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled legislation focused on carbon capture and sequestration, which includes the goal of planting a trillion trees, to counter a recently unveiled plan by Democrats.
The proposal sets a goal of the U.S. planting a trillion new trees by 2050 to counter global warming by sucking carbon out of the air rather than regulating emissions, as well as incentivizing carbon capture and sequestration through a tax credit and investing in research and development of the technology to do so, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Rep. Bruce Westerman, R.-Ark., who introduced the ”Trillion Trees Act,” called trees the “ultimate sequestration device.”
“Every day, countless billions of plant cells are pulling carbon from the atmosphere and permanently storing it in wood. That’s why this legislation is so important,” Westerman said in a statement. “Since wood continues storing carbon long after the tree is cut down and turned into furniture or building materials, there is no limit to how much carbon we can sequester.”
The Trillion Trees Act was based on a July 2019 report featured by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science that concluded planting 1 trillion trees would sequester 205 gigatons of carbon, or roughly the equivalent of two-thirds of all man-made carbon since the Industrial Revolution, as Rep. Westerman pointed out in an Fox News op-ed published Wednesday.
Lawmakers stressed their legislation promoted innovation and market acceptance through American resources, “the world’s cleanest and most efficient.” They would use expanded loan support eligibility and infrastructure tax incentives to advance projects, such as a tax credit for sustainable buildings.
“It’s time to stop offering the American people the false choice of inaction or economy-crushing regulation when it comes to climate change,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R.-Texas, who spearheaded one of the bills in the three-pronged plan, said in a statement. His bill would boost carbon capture at natural gas power plants. In carbon capture processes, CO2 is sifted out of fossil fuels at the power plant source and transported to be stored deep underground.
Not all conservatives were on board with the legislation, however. The president of the conservative PAC Club for Growth released a statement saying the group would not endorse any candidate who supports the “liberal environmental policies being pushed by Leader McCarthy.”
“Besides hurting our economy, these measures will not make a single environmentalist vote for a Republican and only alienate conservatives across the country,” said president David McIntosh.
On Jan. 28, Democrats unveiled their own plan aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. As reported by The Hill, the 600-page draft of the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act called for bringing about dramatic changes to many sectors of the economy, pushing utilities to work for entirely carbon-free electricity by 2050, and requiring the transportation sector to massively cut emissions from both vehicles and airliners.