Senate Passes Biggest Climate Bill in US History, Fossil Fuel Still Supported
In the most significant investment in the country's history, the bill would allot $369 billion for climate action and energy programs
The landmark $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will represent the largest climate investment in the history of the United States of America. The bill also aims to reduce the cost of some medicines increase corporate taxes and lessen carbon emissions. If signed into law, the IRA will assign $369 billion to decrease America’s emissions – an amount that is expected to lead to 40 percent emission reductions by the end of this decade, compared to 2005 levels.
While many have welcomed this as a brilliant move by the Biden administration, some people have pointed out that it is a significantly less amount than the first proposed version of the $3.5 trillion package the administration promised. After 18 months of intense debating, the US climate bill was passed by a margin of 51 to 50 on August 7, 2022.
While there are several prior provisions for healthcare and taxes, a $369 billion investment for green energy and greenhouse gas reductions is a first for the nation. It also brings the US closer to its goal of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030.
Under this bill, customers will receive discounts on electric vehicles, energy-efficient household appliances, and solar panels to make the transition into a lower-carbon economy easier. Moreover, federal loans will help solar panel and battery manufacturers. Farmers adhering to sustainable agricultural practices will get financial support to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
However, the bill has also made many concessions to the fossil fuel industry, including $20 billion in subsidization and new land for offshore drilling. By mandating drilling and pipeline deals, the US climate bill is enabling the fossil fuel industry to harm communities from Alaska to Appalachia and the Gulf Coast.
While scientists have acknowledged the bill exhibited progress in one of the world’s largest emitters, they also stressed that it was far from perfect. Many have pointed out that the bill’s assurance to build new gas pipelines was a step in the wrong way.
It is important to note that much of the West Coast is facing an intense heatwave and prolonged dry spell triggered by climate change. Former President Donald Trump’s move of pulling America out of the Paris Agreement and the war on the environment left the country in an intense state of environmental havoc.
With high hopes for this new bill, it will be interesting to see to what extent these measures against climate will be implemented.