The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act: What's Good? What's the catch?
Combat Climate Change Today
For those of you joining us for the first time, this is the Save Our Happy Place. We’re a climate action newsletter dedicated to making it easy for you to help protect the places you love from climate change. Keep reading to get access to simple & effective climate actions, sustainability, and eco-friendly lifestyle tips to make helping the planet easy.
Hey there sunshine! Welcome back to Save Our Happy Place your weekly pop of environmental and climate activism. After a little summer break, we are back and ready for action!
During Our Break
During my summer escapades along the West Coast, I chose to partake in a little digital detox. After years of one horrid news story after the next, I figured two weeks of no news and no Instagram wouldn’t kill me and the world would carry on. Naturally in my absence, the most monumental GOOD climate news to ever happen in the U.S. was announced. While hiking through Big Sur’s Andrew Molera State Park, luckily my partner was still receiving push news notifications and informed me the Inflation Reduction Act had been signed into law. After a moment of pure glee and a jump for joy, a huge wave of relief came over me. After years of protesting, petitioning, and lobbying representatives, something monumental finally happened. I allowed myself to believe that maybe we could turn this whole climate disaster around. Maybe we would be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With a sigh of relief and a new wave of hope, I invite you also to celebrate this win and all of the small ones that lead up to this one (they count too!).
Because almost everything we do as humans has an impact on our environment and the climate, we will always have more work to do. But let this good news energize you to keep fighting the good fight.
Inflation Reduction Act: A Climate Win
The Inflation Reduction Act is the most expansive, significant, and impactful investment in our green future that has ever come from the U.S. Congress. After years of trying to compromise on climate legislation, Congress finally was able to pass an agreement through this act that was then signed into law by President Biden on Tuesday, August 16th.
The Part You Played
Since Save Our Happy Place’s launch in October 2021, we have collectively taken over 30 unique actions directly demanding that Congress and President Biden create meaningful climate policy. This call for action had many faces over the course of the year, whether that was the Infrastructure Bill or the Budget Reconciliation Bill and U.S. Climate Policy faced many foes. But we were not going to stay quiet while officials elected on their pro-climate agendas accomplished nothing. This is a huge win for the climate, for our futures, and for ourselves. Activism works. Making your voice heard works. I applaud you for your efforts in climate action this past year and beyond. Without all of us chiming in unison, we may not have seen any robust climate policy come to fruition.
The Big Wins
Overall $369 billion will be invested in energy, climate, and environmental protections as well as climate justice over the next 10 years. The bill should stimulate a remarkable renewable energy boom, create clean energy jobs, and help the U.S. curb greenhouse gas emissions up to 40 percent, below 2005 levels, by 2030.
Accelerate a clean energy transition that will lower energy costs for Americans.
Help transition the transportation sector away from fossil fuels and invest in zero-emissions transportation.
Fund climate solutions led by communities of color and low-income communities facing disproportionate harm from the climate crisis.
Help farmers and ranchers shift to more sustainable practices.
Provide protections for old-growth forests, coastal ecosystems, and endangered species.
Some Personal Benefits:
A 30% tax credit for installing residential solar panels.
Up to $7,500 for purchasing an electric vehicle.
Up to $14,000 for home energy efficiency upgrades, including up to $8,000 to install a heat pump.
These changes could lead to savings of $1,800 per year on energy bills.
There is always a catch. If you’ve been keeping tabs on the ongoing Climate Policy drama with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the sole Democrat keeping climate policy from passing much sooner, then this should be of no surprise to you. The bill includes:
Tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). These could potentially prolong the life of coal plants.
A mandate that the federal government offers parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet for oil and gas development.
Requirements for additional oil and gas leasing in order for new wind and solar projects to be approved.
A side deal to drive a separate bill in September for “permitting reform” that could dilute protections under the National Environmental Policy Act.
With this negotiating tactic between Schumer and Manchin leaving room for continued fossil fuel extraction, we need to continue focusing on ensuring that the investments listed in the bill go to real climate solutions and to the communities that need them. We’ll be keeping a pulse on how this plays out and aim to always hold our representatives accountable. Secondly, we’ll provide support and focus on the Gulf Coast, Appalachia, and Alaska to stop a potential wave of fossil fuel energy projects. Check out the below two actions to jump-start these precautions.
Join the Appalachia Resistance
What? Join frontline leaders in a rally on Sept 8th outside the U.S. Capitol to demand that U.S. Senators and Representatives stop Manchin’s dirty deal of making.
Why? Frontline communities in Appalachia are being used as bargaining chips in a Manchin/Schumer side deal aimed at ramping up fossil fuel projects.
How? RSVP at the link below.
Help Stop Offshore Drilling for the Gulf Coast and Beyond
What? Send a message to Secretary Haaland and Director Lefton of Ocean Energy Management demanding they protect public waters from new offshore drilling.
Why? Despite the IRA, offshore drilling is still on the table for U.S. waters.
How? Click link to send message. (Est. 1 minute)
Some Rays of Sunshine
The Headlines We’re Happy to See
Hawaii quits coal in a bid to fight climate change. - Read More
Connecticut public schools must now teach about climate change. - Read More
Alaska’s first indigenous representative to Congress, May Peltola, opposes the Pebble Mine, Bristol Bay copper and gold mine. - Read More
California Phasing Out Gas Vehicles in Climate Change Fight. Read More