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A Bipartisan Group of Senators Just Agreed We Need to Break Our Addiction to Carbon

 Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.

Leaving our fossil fuel-entrenched economy behind is looking more and more like a bipartisan goal.  Case in point:  A bipartisan Senate committee just apparently agreed that we need to decarbonize our energy system.

On Thursday the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on how to innovate the energy sector, and it took a climate-friendly turn.  While the group didn’t reach a consensus on how to achieve “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions,” as promised in the brand new Green New Deal resolution, the conversation was nevertheless encouraging.

Near the end of the hearing, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat of Nevada, asked the committee if anyone disagreed with looking into an energy portfolio with the “outcome of decarbonization.”  The room was silent.  A few seconds later, Cortez Masto concluded, “I think that’s why we’re here.  That is where we could set our long-term mission and goal.”

Leading up to that, the committee found plenty to agree (and in a few instances, disagree) on.

“It is time to push hard to bring down the cost of clean energy technologies like renewables, advanced nuclear, next-generation energy storage, and carbon capture,” said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, the chair of the committee, in her opening remarks.

Even Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia — a Democrat who just earlier this week applauded President Trump’s line about the U.S. being the world’s No. 1 oil producer during the State of the Union address — appeared to get behind the eventual goal of decarbonization.  “Breakthrough technologies will help us reliably meet our energy needs in the future while decarbonizing our energy system,” he said.

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