he House passed the largest piece of climate legislation since at least the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill on Friday, but this time, the bill is headed to the President’s desk. Every Republican voted against it, including those in the Conservative Climate Caucus. The $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act includes $370 billion to combat climate change, in addition to other ACA, Medicare, and tax provisions.
Though still far from a sure thing, the bill’s passage keeps alive the hope of the U.S. fulfilling its promises to cut climate pollution by at least 50% compared to 2005 levels, as well as limit global warming to the 1.5°C (2.7°F) goal established in the Paris Agreement. “That ain’t nothing,” Samantha Gross of Brookings told Bloomberg.
The IRA includes as much as $60 billion for environmental justice initiatives, but success of those programs could hinge on equitable application processes to ensure small, under-resourced, historically excluded groups and communities are not edged out for funding by better-resourced groups and entities.
“There [is] a real risk of perpetuating the status quo” with “most of that funding going to people who already have the capacity to apply for those grants,” the Greenlining Institute’s Sneha Ayyagari told Canary Media. “We have such a widening racial wealth gap. […] It’s important to see how we can use this funding as a way to really deliver the economic, environmental and health benefits.” (Passage: (Washington Post $, AP, NPR, Axios, The Guardian, New York Times $, Reuters, Rolling Stone, USA Today, Grist, Deadline, TIME, CNBC, CNN; Environmental Justice: Canary Media; Emissions and heating targets: Bloomberg $, The Verge, USA Today)