By the time this lands in your inbox, we hope that President Biden has signed off on the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. For us, this is a “YES! and… moment.” Taking legally binding action on climate change in the United States is long overdue. Say it with us: 🎉yes! 🎉 This bill has been modeled by multiple experts to add up to a carbon emissions reduction of 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This legislation is not only critically needed and ideally the flick of the first domino needed for cascading change, but it also gives the United States credibility on the world stage as the next United Nations Climate Summit, COP27, grows nearer. YES!!
And…this legislation also demonstrates that when leaders say we’ve done the best that we can on climate action, that most often means that we have not taken legitimate action to build and restore under-resourced communities. For example, while the IRA offers some opportunities for much needed investment in renewable energy, it also offers credits for carbon capture — a highly controversial “false solution” that is yet to prove itself as safe or viable and mandates the expansion of oil and gas exploration leases on federal land and water. Many news sources and climate podcasts have discussed nuanced critiques of the IRA in depth, and our Senior Policy Manager Sarah Goodspeed does a great breakdown in her policy blog this month.
In the climate justice movement, celebrating is a rarity for us, and so we must celebrate the years of hard work, marching in the streets, late night meetings, and brave voices that spoke up for the change we need. And we need to continue educating, advocating, and motivating within our communities holistically.
One piece of legislation cannot guarantee our work is done. This shared work is truly the work of our lifetimes –– to protect the lifetimes of those around us and those that will come after us.
Cover image credit goes to Naulé Arvelo under creative commons use.