Whitehouse said the highlight of Carper’s accomplishments was the bill included in last year’s climate, tax and health care law, which would eventually charge up to $1,500 per ton of methane emissions from oil and gas companies, pipeline operators and others.
Methane is a stronger heat trap in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide in the short term, but groups like the UN Environment Program have found that tackling methane emissions could help ensure the world meets its targets stipulated under the Paris Agreement.
“I don’t think there is anyone else to talk to [West Virginia Democratic Sen.] Joe Manchin he did to pass the first pollution charge into law,” Whitehouse said. “And I think if the Biden administration starts implementing this forcefully, we’ll see what a big difference it makes.”
Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., another member of the committee, also pointed to the methane fee and another provision of last year’s law that established the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which provides capital to renewable energy projects.
Environmental groups such as Evergreen Action and the League of Conservation voters praised Carper’s work on bipartisan infrastructure legislation as well as his work to address hydrofluorocarbons, which are also potent greenhouse gases. With Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., Carper introduced a bill to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs included in the fiscal 2021 appropriations law.