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US Senate introduces legislation for National Climate Bank

The institution will be capitalised with $35 billion in federal funds and will drive public and private investment in clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

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The National Climate Bank aims to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis
The National Climate Bank aims to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis

The US Senate has introduced legislation to create a National Climate Bank that will drive public and private investment in clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

 

The National Climate Bank Act of 2019 was introduced by US Senators Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen, Brian Schatz and Richard Blumenthal.

 

It is also the first bill of its kind to authorise the use of federal funds to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants and to acquire coal assets still in the ground.

 

$35 billion in federal funds

 

The National Climate Bank will be capitalised with $35 billion in federal funds over five years. The bill has an explicit social and environmental justice mission, with a mandate to specifically prioritise investments in underserved and low-income communities.

 

By providing a framework and a set of financial tools to connect dollars to projects, this bill represents the first substantial legislative plank to support achievement of the climate goals of the Green New Deal.

 

With its focus on connecting clean energy projects with needed capital, the bill uses the proven green bank model which the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) has worked to implement at the state and local level.

 

The CGC is a non-profit organisation focused on accelerating the growth of clean energy markets through the creation of green banks. Existing green banks have a successful track record driving capital towards projects that reduce greenhouse gases and multiplying their impact by drawing in private investment.

 

Previous bills establishing a federal green bank have also been introduced in the House and Senate, and Presidential candidates have come forward with plans based on green bank principles. The National Climate Bank Act builds on this momentum, with an expanded mission and a larger toolbox of eligible project types.

 

As experts in green bank creation and operation, CGC has played an instrumental role in setting up many of the green banks currently working today.

 

“Senator Markey’s bill meets the dramatic and urgent nature of the climate change problem with an equally dramatic yet business-friendly solution,” said Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital. “By using green bank financing, the Climate Bank will tackle the climate crisis while leaving energy consumers better off.”

 

Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank said: “Green banks are a proven policy tool in the battle against climate change. In Connecticut alone, the Connecticut Green Bank has been able to use $270 million in public funds to drive over $1.67 billion in total investment.

 

"With initiatives like the Solar for All programme, the Connecticut Green Bank has increased solar adoption by more than 187 per cent in under-invested neighbourhoods, showing clean energy investments can drive equity and inclusivity for those that need it most.”

 

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