CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Energy and Environment: In Depth

America’s national security and economic prosperity demand that we take charge of our energy future. Unprecedented storms and increased flooding along the coast has threatened the integrity of our transportation infrastructure and made abundantly clear that climate change is taking its toll on Connecticut.

We need an energy strategy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, promotes energy efficiency, encourages the development of American energy technologies and sources, and helps preserve the planet for future generations. Smart energy policy will create jobs in the short-term and make our planet more livable for future generations.

Jobs & the Economy

Accelerating America’s transition to a clean energy economy will spur the next great era of American innovation, but this transition will not occur without fundamentally changing our nation’s energy policies. We must build the foundation for a clean energy economy. That means setting rigorous standards that promote the use of clean energy, providing financial incentives that reward both reduced energy usage and increased reliance on renewable energy, investing in the development of clean energy technologies, and training workers for jobs in areas like weatherization and solar panel installation.

We have seen remarkable gains in the renewable and energy efficiency marketplace over the last several years, and it is important that the federal government provide incentives to allow the marketplace to continue to develop and thrive. With that in mind, I have supported several legislative initiatives – including a bill to extend the production tax credit for wind energy projects and renew the investment tax credit for solar projects – to help our nation begin this necessary and urgent transition to clean energy. I have also been an ardent supporter of legislation to establish a Federal Green Bank, modeled after Connecticut’s Green Bank, to help finance the development of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The Green Bank Act will increase deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies by providing financing in partnership with private investors for projects that use commercialized technology but cannot deploy at scale due to lack of reasonably priced financing.

Efficiency

The cheapest energy in the world is the energy we do not use. From insulating buildings to increasing the fuel efficiency of the cars and trucks we drive, we can save energy and dollars. I support rigorous national fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. With buildings accounting for over 40 percent of our energy use, I have passed legislation that helps finance home retrofits and creates financial incentives for businesses and local governments to invest in “greening” their buildings. In addition to reforming our energy policy, we must also invest in improved efficiency in the other sectors of our infrastructure. I have sponsored legislation to improve access to public transportation and to encourage telecommuting as ways to help reduce our use of fossil fuels.

Global Participation and Paris Agreement

In 2015, 195 heads of state – led by President Obama and Secretary John Kerry – came to a climate agreement in Paris. In signing this agreement, leaders signed a pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adapt to climate change, and agreed to cooperate with one another through financial and other support.

President Trump’s misguided and harmful decision to exit the agreement will lead us down a path to rising sea levels and destructive weather that will wreak havoc on our planet. Drought, climate refugees and competition over dwindling resources will destabilize global security. Leading scientists believe that the window opportunity for us to avert the most disastrous climate scenarios caused by climate change is quickly closing.

Now is not the time to turn our backs on the world. We must instead re-engage and pursue a global effort to combat climate change. And, amazingly, state governments, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and faith leaders nationwide have recognized this fact, and will continue to honor the Paris Agreement independently of the White House’s decision. In Congress, I plan to continue supporting legislative efforts that advance clean energy, curb emissions, and help keep our air and water clean. I will also call upon the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement at the earliest opportunity.