I have been sleeping better at night knowing that the U.S. government is finally taking Climate Change seriously, by passing the Climate Change Bill. I understand that this Bill is only a start to combating Climate Change and much more needs to be done by the government and all of us, but at least for now there is hope for a brighter future.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (a/k/a The Climate Change Bill) that passed both Houses of Congress last week provides us with a real opportunity to combat Climate Change and save the world from an environmental crisis. The Climate Change Bill gives us hope that our future generations (not too future) will be able to survive the impact and effects of greenhouse gases on the planet. This impact includes – rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, more catastrophic storms, drought, agricultural destruction, insect, animal extinction, etc.
The Bill includes some compromises related to oil pipelines & leases, however, Chuck Schumer (Senate Majority Leader) exclaimed that the Climate Change Bill is the “most comprehensive & significant piece of legislation in decades.” Bill Gates described the legislation as the “single most important piece of climate legislation in American history”.
So why is the Climate Change Bill so important? To start with the size of the investment is massive, of the $737 billion raised by the Bill, $369 billion will be spent on energy and combating Climate Change. This investment will keep us on target to reduce gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels in 2030 compared to 30% under current policy. This will also move the U.S. closer to reaching its commitment, in the Paris Agreement, to cut emissions by 50% below 2005 level by 2030. So, you may be questioning the price tag of the Bill. Well, consider this: “NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) released the final update to its 2021 Billion-dollar disaster report (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions), confirming what much of the nation experienced throughout 2021: another year of frequent and costly extremes. The year came in second to 2020 in terms of number of disasters (20 versus 22) and third in total costs (behind 2017 and 2005), with a price tag of $145 billion.” Super Storm Sandy alone cost the U.S. an estimated $70 billion. That is just to clean up the mess of climate change. It is predicted to be in the trillions by the end of the century.
How will this Bill help us reduce greenhouse emissions? One of the major pieces of this legislation is related to electrify transportation, which produces the largest and fastest growing share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Auto companies already investing billions in electric vehicles will now benefit from tax credits that will make electronic vehicles more affordable. Auto companies will need to reduce dependency on China for critical minerals used in electric car batteries. The Bill requires Auto companies to increase domestic production of batteries and other electric vehicle parts, which will ‘create more American jobs’ and allow us to be more self sufficient in obtaining these critically needed materials.
Extending the life of nuclear plants and lowering the cost of ‘carbon capture’ technology, which limits the amount of greenhouse gases that reach the atmosphere, will also help reduce greenhouse emissions.
How does this Bill help consumers like you and me? The Bill will provide tax credits for new E-Vehicles up to $7,500 and used E-Vehicles up to $4,000. 30% tax credit for solar panels, wind energy, and other green technology solutions. $2,000 per year for home efficiency products such as windows, exterior doors, water heaters, skylights, etc. Tax credits for home energy audit and electric panel upgrade. Basically, the government is providing us with tax credits to make our houses more energy efficient, which equates to lower energy bills for consumers.
This Bill is important politically, as it demonstrates to other nations how serious the U.S is on Climate Change and provides an impetus for them to follow suit by enacting similar policy changes. Countries will need to keep up with the U.S. or fall far behind in producing and utilizing green technology products.
The ‘bottom line’ is that this Bill will make cleaner energy and electric vehicles more affordable for all Americans and other countries. It will make the U.S. less dependent on foreign countries like China for critical green technology materials and products. Isn’t that what we have been striving for to keep America strong and independent? It will provide us with the tools we require to ensure a habitable world for future generations.
Still, we cannot rely on this Bill alone to prevent serious damage to the planet. Leah Stokes, a climate policy expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, states “This Bill is really on the beginning”. Therefore, we ask all Rockaway residents to become environmental advocates and to educate ourselves on Climate Change and reducing our Carbon Footprint. If we don’t start now – When?
 NOAA NATIONAL CENTERS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION Website 1-24-22