Coalition for Green Capital Seeks to Establish a National Green Bank That Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Redress Environmental Injustice
Washington, DC— The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) today hosted a media call outlining its public comments following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) December 5 deadline for responding to a Request for Information regarding the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF). CGC CEO Reed Hundt was joined by partners from the American Green Bank Consortium and environmental justice leaders including Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank; Raya Salter, founder and executive director of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center and member of the CGC Environmental Justice Advisory Board; and Michael Jeans, president and CEO of Growth Opps.
For 14 years, CGC has advocated for creating a single, national green bank that will achieve the dual mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and redressing environmental injustice by targeting low-income and disadvantaged communities.
“The plan here is to maximize leverage with a national entity that can get the greatest amount of investing and then to have that investing primarily be in low-income and disadvantaged communities,” said Hundt. “The vision in this statute is historic. It’s the first statute in the history of the environmental movement to focus on environmental justice…So the combined dual mission is to maximize leverage and get the total amount of money invested to be as large as possible. We think that if $20 billion were put into a single national entity, over the course of a decade, it could cause more than $250 billion of investment. But that investment has to be in, for, by the efforts of local low-income and disadvantaged communities.”
“We all know that by providing families and businesses with the capital they need to deploy clean energy, we’re going to get all those social and environmental benefits for society, but we’re also going to help those participants reduce the burden of energy costs, and also increase their energy security,” said Garcia. “We are really excited by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. And we are ready to go to enable more investment in our families. Specifically, solar, batteries, weatherization, energy audits, and heat pumps, are all things that are going to help our families reduce the burden of energy costs and increase their energy security on the impacts of climate. All while doing all the things that we need to see by lifting up our vulnerable communities and reducing greenhouse gases.”
“A national green bank is a critical tool within the Inflation Reduction Act that can make a meaningful difference in addressing energy and environmental justice,” said Salter. “As evidenced by the comments that CGC filed yesterday, CGC is listening to its ever-broadening networks of institutional and EJ allies to get in the weeds of how a green bank can deliver results in the communities that need it most. So with $20 billion of capital in the national green bank, in its networks, that will enable at least $250 billion in green investing over 10 years. And we need to leverage this, we need to make this opportunity so we don’t risk eating our seed corn of the IRA investment and really missing the opportunity to meet the true energy and environmental justice goals of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.”
“Growth Opps is a member of the American Green Bank Consortium and in doing our work and reaching communities of color, persons of color, and communities overall, we partner with banks, governments, municipalities, philanthropy, private sector. All doing so to fill the gaps where capital markets have failed or have avoided certain parts of our community,” said Jeans. “If we’re going to achieve the targets and the goals that the President has set–as it relates to communities of color and disadvantaged communities–we have to ensure that there’s equity in the deployment of this capital. And that there is equity in deploying this capital with institutions that have a history of reaching the target market.”
Congress created the GHGRF when it passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)in August. Congressional authors of the GHGRF have made its intent clear. On September 9, 2022, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) wrote EPA Administrator Michael Regan to “encourage” the rapid maximum funding of “a single, independent, non-profit national climate bank that would maximize the leveraging of private capital investment, ensure the efficient distribution of funds within a growing green bank network and create opportunities for large scale, transformational investments — particularly in environmental justice communities…”
The Congressional letter followed a statement on August 12 by Congresswoman Dingell submitted for the congressional record on the day the House voted for the IRA stating that the legislation is intended to “capitalize a single independent, non-profit national financing institution — the first-ever national green bank.”