Inflation Reduction Act: Climate Change

By Nupur Kudapkar 

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious bill that attempts to control inflation, decrease prescription medicine prices, reduce the deficit, put a minimum tax on the earnings of the wealthiest businesses and address climate change, into law on August 16, 2022.

The Inflation Reduction Act would invest around $370 billion in mitigating climate change and increasing US energy production by providing incentives for private enterprises to create more renewable energy and for individuals to adjust their energy usage and consumption (The Washington Post). 

Important Wins On Climate Change in This Bill:

The Inflation Reduction Act will expedite a clean energy transition that will cut energy prices for Americans by increasing access to clean clean energy, making clean energy tax credits more accessible and extending them by ten years, spending $60 billion in producing solar panels, batteries and other renewable energy technology in the United States, creating employment, and boosting our country’s energy security. Providing low-income people with funds to electrify their houses, including $9 billion in home energy rebate programs, and removing obstacles to community solar, the Inflation Reduction Act is an approach to making solar energy more accessible and cheap to the average person. 

The transportation industry is the major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, spewing huge volumes of hazardous air pollution into communities across the country. This bill will assist in transitioning the sector away from fossil fuels and investing billions in zero-emissions transportation (including $3 billion for the United States Postal Service to electrify its fleet of more than 217,000 vehicles, the largest government fleet in the country, $1 billion for clean school and transit buses, garbage trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles, with a focus on communities impacted by air pollution, $3 billion to clean up air pollution at ports through the installation of zero-emissions equipment and technologies, with a large share of the cash going to portside communities that are exposed to disproportionately high levels of harmful air pollution, as well as tax credits for electric cars).

Pollution and the climate issue disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income populations. Climate solutions must be led and implemented by and for these communities. This measure will provide $315.5 million for air monitoring so that communities know exactly what’s in the air they breathe, with specific funds for schools and those living near polluting industries, $3 billion for community-led projects in areas experiencing disproportionate impacts from pollution and climate change, and $3 billion for research and development. 

Nature already has some of the greatest technologies for combating the climate catastrophe. Oceans and old trees store carbon, provide habitat for species threatened by climate change, and support communities. This bill will include $50 million to enhance mature and old-growth forest safeguards, $2.6 billion in coastal resilience grants to state and tribal governments to finance efforts to preserve and restore coastal communities and ecosystems, $250 million to execute endangered species recovery strategies and mitigate the effects of climate change on important areas, $1 billion to guarantee that federal agencies can perform thorough environmental and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) studies, as well as public involvement on big projects funded by the federal government or taking place on federal lands (EarthJustice). 

To sum up, the Inflation Reduction Act does many great things for our country such as, attempting to control inflation, decreasing prescription medicine prices, reducing the deficit, and putting a minimum tax on the earnings of the wealthiest businesses. With the growing crisis of climate change we hope that this new bill will help our planet as well.