More than 40 companies, including consumer brands such as Airbnb Inc., Lyft Inc., Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and IKEA, are calling on Congress to adopt federal energy legislation to provide additional financial incentives for clean-energy projects such as wind turbine farms and solar installations.
In a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, the companies said that federal spending for such projects would help reduce energy costs for U.S. businesses, along with their employees and customers.
They called for federal tax credits for developers and suppliers of major wind, solar, nuclear and energy-storage projects, as well as for electric vehicles and charging-station tax credits, which could benefit company-run fleets.
Reducing energy costs for businesses by switching to clean power would free up money “to invest into innovation, manufacturing, and employment,” said the letter, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Executives are applying pressure as the Senate reconvenes from a two-week break as some members try to revive a Democratic package to address climate change that failed to pass last year.
Free-market advocates said federal lawmakers shouldn’t use tax credits to pick winners and losers in the U.S. energy sector. Katie Tubb, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote on the conservative think tank’s website last week that such credits “allow wealthy Americans and businesses to save billions of dollars on the backs of hardworking Americans who foot the bill for the virtue signaling.”
The companies’ letter comes a day after U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry said the Biden administration needs more help from businesses, especially electric utilities, to pass climate legislation through a narrowly Democratic-led Congress, where Republicans have broadly opposed such efforts for years.
“There are still too many deniers. There are too many doubters. There are people who don’t yet see the economic upside, and you all have particular credibility because you’re huge employers,” Mr. Kerry said Monday at a conference convened by the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group for investor-owned utilities.
Tuesday’s letter reflects corporate support for measures that could cut greenhouse-gas emissions and slow the effects of climate change, which a United Nations report said earlier this year are now severe and widespread. Many consumer-focused companies in particular have pledged more sustainable business practices, giving them a chance to win over customers, especially younger ones, who pay attention to corporate values.
The letter was organized by Ceres, a Boston advocacy nonprofit that helps companies and investors reach sustainability targets. In addition to recognizable consumer brands, the letter was signed by business-to-business brands such as Salesforce Inc., industrial firms such as manufacturer Pirelli Tire North America and cement and building-materials maker LafargeHolcim.
Investment firm Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc., which provides money for wind, solar and energy-efficiency projects, also signed the letter.
Lobbyists and congressional aides widely see the next several months as perhaps the last chance to pass major climate legislation for potentially years to come, citing the possibility that Republicans regain control of one or both houses of Congress in November’s midterm elections.
President Biden’s Build Back Better initiative last year was set to include climate measures, but congressional Republicans blocked it over cost concerns. They were joined by Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), who is seeking compromise legislation that would include clean-energy provisions as well as measures that could bolster domestic production of fossil fuels.
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