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Late last week, President Biden and a critical mass of Democrats in the Senate and House agreed on the details of Build Back Better legislation — a $1.85 trillion overall investment that includes a record-setting $555 billion dollars to take on the climate crisis.
The agreement marked a huge step forward after weeks of negotiations, and represents the single largest climate investment in American history, with the majority sum of $320 billion going toward tax credits to incentivize the clean energy transition. This breakthrough is remarkable given the 50-50 Senate and a deciding vote from one coal-state Democrat (Manchin). More than half a trillion dollars for climate is more than five times the 2009 high-water mark for federal investment in the green economy. As John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff and co-founder of the Center for American Progress (CAP), said in a statement last week: “[This] framework isn’t going to solve climate change and environmental injustice all by itself, but it is an agreement to stand together for the first time and fight for our future.”
The broader framework of the legislation outlines spending on key housing, educational, and health care priorities — issues that are all impacted by climate change.
Why This Matters
The current scale of climate change demands “big, bold” climate action. This plan, if it passes, is a large step toward changing the US energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources that won’t warm the planet or pollute the air. It’s the kind of policy backed by funding that’s necessary to reduce the carbon pumping into the atmosphere and warming the planet. Going into COP26, it creates leverage and momentum for US climate diplomacy on the global scale.
More From the Framework: EVs, Home Efficiency, Climate Corps
Clean energy tax credits: are “the backbone of the climate aspects of the package,”as Christy Goldfuss, CAP’s senior vice president of energy and environment policy told Bloomberg. The credits can be used for both utility-scale and residential projects, including transmission and energy storage.
Electricity + efficiency = savings for Americans: the planwould make electric vehicles more accessible, with as much as $12,500 in tax credits available for EVs “made in America with American materials and union labor.” It also would expand rebates and credits for people installing clean energy or increasing energy efficiency in their home. The plan could lower the cost of installing rooftop solar at home by roughly 30%, according to the White House.
Pathways for Americans into the climate workforce: would be created as well, with a Civilian Climate Corps that would provide jobs in a range of environmental areas, from plugging abandoned wells to restoring wetlands. The framework also emphasizes building clean energy infrastructure in the US, providing Americans with manufacturing jobs making wind turbine blades and solar panels.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Top executives from Big Oil companies ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell testified before Congress yesterday amid accusations and revelations about their industry’s efforts to mislead the public about human-caused climate change while claiming to be in favor of climate action. A report released Thursday morning by the House Committee […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As the world gets ready for COP26 in Glasgow next week, many nations are upping their pledges to lower emissions before 2030. But according to a UN report released Tuesday, even if Argentina, Britain, Canada, the EU, South Africa, and the US achieve their pledged goals, it would account […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The White House is considering new clean energy strategies for President Biden’s budget package to potentially replace measures blocked by coal-state Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The administration is considering an expansion of grants and loans for agricultural and industrial businesses to help them transition to cleaner energy, […]
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