• October 21, 2019

    GEI Energy Innovation Drumbeat Keeps Getting Louder

    Lindsay Rosen
  • October 21, 2019

    GEI Energy Innovation Drumbeat Keeps Getting Louder

    Lindsay Rosen

A few months ago we wrote about the Momentum Building for Practical, Impactful Climate Solutions. Our Energy Innovates “ALL-IN” Summit this past summer served as another important reminder of the incredible work that has been done by both the public and private sector to generate innovative solutions to climate challenges.

While the broader political environment may have become even more polarized since then, we are actually more optimistic that Congress will soon coalesce around a comprehensive energy innovation package. In late September, GEI led an effort to urge Senators McConnell and Schumer to place legislation addressing energy and climate technology and innovation on the Senate’s fall legislative calendar.

We brought together 27 allies on this issue from diverse, influential organizations that, while not in agreement on everything, still believe there is much common ground upon which all sides of the debate can come together to begin to address climate change, promote American technological leadership and foster continued economic growth.

Specifically, we called for passage of the following bills, which we believe will help facilitate the most impactful breakthroughs necessary to reduce emissions on a global scale: the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE-IT) Act, Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology (EFFECT) Act of 2019, the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, the Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas (LEADING) Act of 2019, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, and the Clean Industrial Technology Act.

This letter, in tandem with our recent announcement regarding an internal Chamber-led Task Force on Climate Action continues to reflect our commitment to bringing together the business community for a serious dialogue about climate solutions.

As Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the Chamber, explained, the “task force will enable us to become smarter about the impact of both existing policies and future proposals on the business community and proactively shape opportunities for the Chamber and our members to address climate change.”

To further highlight the importance of innovation to effective climate solutions, GEI president Marty Durbin testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety last Thursday. In a hearing titled, “Reducing Emissions while Driving Economic Growth: Industry-led Initiatives,” Durbin emphasized the imperative role American business have played and continue to play in developing, financing, building, and operating the solutions needed to power economic growth worldwide, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and build resilient, lower-carbon infrastructure.

Central to his testimony was the message that businesses are taking action to not only “meet the expectations of their customers and value chains, shareholders and the public,” but also are “doing so because they care about the environment and the communities in which they live and operate.”

GEI also has been a strong supporter of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) due to its focus on advancing game-changing technologies that are currently too risky for private investment. We are pleased to report that the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019 recently passed the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and we are proud to voice our support for the bipartisan agreement led by Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK).

Once again, conventional wisdom may be wrong when assessing the appetite for meaningful, effective steps to addressing climate change. These positive developments continue to highlight the widespread support for innovative solutions to climate challenges. That being said, we are hopeful that these efforts will culminate in the passage and deployment of practical, meaningful climate solutions.