Amidst the chaos of recent news cycles, a really important action went largely unnoticed. Included in the Covid Stimulus and Government Funding bill was the Energy Act of 2020, which included some of the most significant steps toward addressing climate change that congress has ever taken. The new law will point the ship in the right direction for addressing climate change, and Senator Murkowski has been at the helm, steering this package through stormy political waters.
The impacts of climate change to our businesses and communities have already been substantial, so it’s a welcome change of pace to see decision makers taking the necessary first steps toward addressing the issue. Changing ocean conditions and climate change are obviously beyond our individual control, but the substantive policies included in this bill provide some hope that together we can tackle these challenges.
“You may know it as the COVID relief bill that will send you $600. Or perhaps as the bill President Trump finally signed after Christmas to avoid a government shutdown. What you may not know is that the massive, year-end spending bill is the most significant law to fight climate change Congress has passed in years — and maybe ever.” – Liz Ruskin, from this Alaska Public Media report.
Here are some highlights of Legislation:
- Calls for billions of dollars to research and develop wind, solar, hydro and geothermal power, plus energy storage to make renewables more useful; aims to develop new kinds of nuclear power; and establishes more than 20 major demonstration projects in the next five years. These provisions are intended to combat climate change by acting as a launch pad for new technologies.
- Continues tax credits for existing technology, like solar and wind energy, and creates a new credit for off-shore wind.
- Of particular relevance in Alaska, It expands the Weatherization Assistance Program, to help retrofit homes for more energy efficiency. It also encourages the development of hybrid microgrid systems for isolated communities.
- Phases out hydrofluorocarbon emissions.
Fair Winds, Following Seas, and Plentiful Catch.
The Team at SHIP