It’s morning in America, and a bright sun is rising over a sea of solar panels.
That’s the message of a new television spot launching Monday as part of the campaign to pressure Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s signature climate proposal.
The advertisement, paid for by the climate group Evergreen Action, shows workers across industries ― some in hard hats and welding gear, others in offices and server rooms ― grinning over the words “8 million new jobs.” Text reading “$1 trillion economic growth” floats under towering wind turbines. Marching bands parade down sunny small-town Main Streets carrying giant American flags as the stars and stripes flutter in the wind.
The upbeat 30-second spot, set to start running Monday during the morning talk shows on CNN and MSNBC, is the first major ad campaign in support of the Clean Electricity Payment Plan, the key climate provision in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill. (Evergreen Action has no current plans to run the ad on Fox News.) It is scheduled to run for three weeks in the Washington, D.C., area.
The six-figure ad buy ― Evergreen Action declined to share the full amount it planned to spend ― will run as lawmakers negotiate what is widely seen as the Biden administration’s best opportunity to make serious policy changes ahead of a midterm election in which Republicans are favored to win back power in Congress.
The legislation aims to pay or fine utility companies to spur them into generating a larger share of power from zero-carbon sources like solar, wind and nuclear plants. If successful, the program would shrink fossil fuels’ share of the nation’s electricity production from roughly 60% today to less than 20% in 2030.
Such a shift would eliminate more than 1 billion tons per year of planet-heating pollution. The bill becoming law would mark the most significant and sturdy climate policy ever enacted in the United States, and give the world’s No. 2 emitter credibility at the United Nations’ highly anticipated global summit in Scotland this November.
By 2031, the program would also create demand for nearly 7.7 million jobs that currently don’t exist and add about $1 trillion to the economy, according to a new analysis Evergreen Action commissioned and released last week.
The proposal is popular. Polls have repeatedly shown large majorities of voters across party lines support a federal program to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels this decade, including in swing states such as Arizona, Georgia and Montana.
But ditching gas and coal as the country’s main electricity feedstocks would shrink profits for the powerful companies that produce and supply the fuels, and those industries’ allies have aggressively opposed the Clean Electricity Payment Plan. Just two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board lamented that the program would “prematurely shut down fossil-fuel plants.”
Democrats, who are expecting lockstep Republican opposition to the program, hope to pass the bill as part of federal budget legislation, which requires just a simple majority and avoids the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule. That means Democrats need to rally every member of their narrow majorities in Congress.
Last month, the League of Conservation Voters and the group Climate Power rolled out a $10 million ad campaign to boost Georgia Democrats that back the proposal.
Now Evergreen Action wants to win over Democrats still on the fence.
“We’re trying for every single Democratic member of Congress,” Jamal Raad, who co-founded Evergreen Action with fellow former staffers of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate-centered presidential campaign, told HuffPost. “This is a positive story on economic growth. It’s jobs. We need to go on the offense.”
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