On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that will invest $369 Billion into climate solutions (EarthJustice). This act will invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, putting us on the road to reducing carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030 (Senate Democrats).
The money set aside for environmental justice also stresses natural solutions regarding agriculture and forestry. These “nature-based” climate solutions include about $20 billion for agricultural conservation and $5 billion to safeguard forests around the country (Congressional Research Service).
Relying on natural sectors does not discredit the energy sector’s efforts to reach net-zero through carbon capture and renewable energy infrastructure, but rather encourages both sectors to work in tandem. Humans must use trees, wetlands and other ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide to reduce Earth’s warming. However, if permafrost melts, forests are burned, marshes are drained, or wildfires rage, land also releases greenhouse gasses back into the atmosphere. These gasses that warm the globe occur from anthropogenic land mismanagement (deforestation and unsustainable farming).
According to The Washington Post, The Inflation Reduction Act would help strengthen current initiatives, such as a $700 million program to permanently protect forested land through conservation easements and local government purchases, $450 million to assist private landowners in better managing their forests, and $100 million to fund grants for environmentally friendly uses for wood.
Along with these, this act includes tax reductions for electric vehicles, huge financial incentives to expand carbon-capture facilities, promoting green hydrogen production, and increasing renewables funding (wind, solar) in the United States (The Washington Post).
EarthJustice listed clean energy transition wins:
- Expanding access to clean energy by making clean energy tax credits more accessible and extending them by 10 years.
- Creating jobs and increasing our country’s energy security by investing $60 billion in manufacturing solar panels, batteries, and other clean energy technologies in the U.S.
- Providing funding for low-income families to electrify their homes, including $9 billion in home energy rebate programs.
- Removing barriers to community solar, an innovative solution to making solar power more accessible and affordable for the average person.
Check out What the Inflation Reduction Act Means for Climate for a more detailed list about the Inflation Reduction Act.