'The most progress we will have made — ever': Climate scientists heartened by Senate climate deal

Solar panels for CHS Field
Workers Joe Mandler, left, and Jerry Hitt installed solar panels on the northeast corner of CHS Field in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
Jared Hemming | MPR News

With the OK from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema Friday, a bill that would take major steps to reduce carbon emissions in the United State appears poised to pass the Senate.

It offers significant subsidies to help speed up the transition to renewable energy.

“Right now, we sort of have a backwards incentive structure, where we’re providing subsidies — direct and indirect — to fossil fuels, and not providing similar support for renewable energy,” said climate scientist and author Michael Mann. “So what this will do is it will put a thumb on the right side of the scale, providing incentives for the forms of energy that aren’t degrading our planet.”

Scientists estimate the measures contained in the bill would reduce carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030.

Mann directs the Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania. He told Climate Cast this week that while the bill stops short of the 50 percent emissions drop we need, it will be “the most progress we will have made in addressing the climate crisis — ever — from the standpoint of Congressional action.”

To hear the conversation, click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast.

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