climate policy initiatives

A Rundown of Recently Proposed Climate Policy Initiatives

Jane Marsh - May 23, 2019

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Although focusing on personal actions for improved sustainability is crucial, it’s also a good idea to stay up-to-date on potential climate policy initiatives on a larger scale. Here are some to keep in mind during the year and for the foreseeable future:

The Green New Deal

This is arguably the environmental policy most people know about, even if they aren’t particularly planet-conscious. Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman first used the “green new deal” term more than a decade ago. Now, people generally associate the phrase with initiatives created to cause systemic change.

The Green New Deal covers numerous aspects, such as renewable energy, improved transportation, and guaranteed jobs for all Americans. Progress is happening less quickly than some might hope, but legislators are still paving a path for change. 

In March 2024, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reintroduced Green New Deal legislation to address the housing crisis and climate change’s existential threat. 

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act invests up to $234 billion over 10 years to wholly transform the country’s public housing. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez want to transition into net-zero, energy-efficient residences, affecting the lives of the nearly 2 million inhabitants. They have support from the 55 House of Representatives members and seven senators. 

The Act would also reduce carbon emissions by 5.7 million metric tons, add up to 280,000 fair-paying union jobs to the workforce and enable investments of up to $23 billion annually for 10 years for renewable energy. 

Senator Sanders believes the United States must work harder to reduce fossil fuel dependence and prioritize renewable energy. This Act is not the only way to do that, but it would represent a decisive improvement. 

PFAS Limits for Drinking Water 

Many people love the convenience of non-stick pans and water-resistant clothing. Since the 1930s, engineers have used chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to create such products to meet specific needs or make life easier. 

However, research has gradually emerged showing that PFAS harm the environment and health. One of the main issues is that these chemicals do not break down, and they can accumulate in people, animals, and rivers. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced PFAS exposure reduction as one of its top six priorities for 2024 through 2027. Those plans involve holding polluters accountable and increasing PFAS regulations. 

Then, on April 10, 2024, President Joe Biden signed the first national and legally enforceable standard protecting people from PFAS in drinking water. Like many climate policy initiatives, this one has complementing support. 

It includes the $9 billion previously allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist communities affected by PFAS contamination. Another $12 billion goes towards general drinking water improvements, including PFAS reductions. 

The newly announced standard creates these controls to improve drinking water safety: 

  • Establish limits for five individual PFAS 
  • Restrict the amounts of four PFAS occurring together
  • Give water authorities three years to complete initial PFAS testing
  • Require water companies to tell the public about PFAS levels
  • Reduce PFAS levels within five years when they exceed standards

Water authorities can choose from numerous PFAS-reduction technologies to get drinking water within the stated limits. EPA officials will work with state authorities and local leaders, supporting decision-makers in establishing new processes to operate within these limits. 

The First Movers Coalition’s Climate Commitments

The First Movers Coalition (FMC) is a global public-private partnership between the World Economic Forum and the United States government to decarbonize the world’s most emissions-intensive industries. As of January 2024, the FMC had 96 members that made more than 120 climate commitments. 

Those involve purchasing approximately $16 billion worth of near-zero-emission goods and services annually by 2030. The FMC will focus on these industries: 

  • Aluminum
  • Aviation
  • CO2 removal 
  • Cement and concrete
  • Shipping
  • Steel
  • Trucking

These climate commitments will reduce emissions by an estimated 31 metric tons per year.

 Additionally, the FMC recognizes that 50% of the technologies needed to reach the 2050 net-zero emissions goals set by numerous countries are not yet available at scale. However, the coalition’s members hope to stimulate more widespread adoption of these options by being among the earliest adopters. 

The FMC formed in 2021 with 35 members, illustrating that its 96-entity count as of early 2024 is a progressive improvement. Additionally, some of the members joining most recently were The Coca-Cola Company, Qatar Airways, and Volvo Cars, Inc. The broad name recognition of those brands should fuel the FMC’s work, especially in showing the marketability of near-zero-emissions products. 

FMC members have also participated in nearly 100 offtake agreements and investment projects to directly support the parties developing essential emissions-reduction technologies and create an emerging market for qualified suppliers. 

Thanks to several initiatives announced in January 2024, the FMC will identify and accelerate the adoption of viable climate products or services. They include sustainable air travel, near-zero-emissions steel, and a database of sustainable suppliers partnered with the FMC. 

A New Global Effort From the Cool Coalition

The United States has a long history of change, resulting in the development of many climate policy initiatives. However, combating climate change requires an international effort. In early April 2019, more than 20 world leaders pledged to collaborate on finding clean and efficient cooling technologies.

Dubbed the “Cool Coalition,” this movement accounts for the people living in countries most affected by climate change who cannot keep their homes at comfortable temperatures during warm weather because they don’t have electricity.

Cool Coalition members recognize the unsustainability of emissions from air conditioners and their coolants. Many of the group’s plans involve finding better ways to keep people cool while stopping the planet from getting too hot. 

In December 2023, more than 60 countries signed a cooling pledge initiated by the Cool Coalition and the United Arab Emirates. Following through on it will occur during 2024 and for the foreseeable future. Achieving the stated outcomes would remove approximately 3.8 billion tons of CO2 equivalent from the cooling industry. 

It would also: 

  • Give 3.5 billion more people refrigerators, air conditioners or passive cooling systems by 2050
  • Cause a $1 trillion reduction in cooling bills for customers by 2050
  • Reduce peak power requirements by 1.5 to 2 terawatts
  • Save $4 to $5 trillion in power generation investments

Lots of Exciting Climate Policy Initiatives

Consider this breakdown of climate policy initiatives your go-to guide for keeping updated on how people in power are minimizing adverse outcomes. The efforts mentioned here show  groups are willing to address climate issues in various ways. 

It’s too early to know which of them might work best, but more people realize there’s no time to waste in stopping climate change. Widespread, collaborative options will achieve the gains we need.

Original Publish Date 5/23/2019 — Updated 4/29/2024



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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.