One year ago today, President Biden and the then-Democratic-controlled Congress made history when they enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, the most ambitious climate change legislation in US history. Over the course of a decade, new spending and tax incentives estimated at half a trillion dollars will go toward reducing carbon emissions. A recent study by the American Clean Power Association that reported 83 new utility-scale clean energy manufacturing facilities that have been announced since the Inflation Reduction Act became law. Ultimately, the only numbers that matter are how much and how quickly carbon emissions are cut. In a report published annually by the independent research firm the Rhodium Group, by 2030 the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce US emissions by 29 to 42 percent below 2005 levels. All the experts interviewed agreed that the Inflation Reduction Act alone won’t head off the worst effects of climate change. “The IRA isn’t sufficient to get all of the carbon reduction that we need,” concluded Lori Bird, director of the US Energy Program at the World Resources Institute, “but it’s an excellent step in the right direction.”
By Osha Gray Davidson. Sierra, Magazine of the Sierra Club. August 16, 2023.
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