The bipartisan infrastructure bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is being debated and voted on in the Senate. While the bill touches on many urgent infrastructure needs, it does not directly address climate change at nearly the scale needed. That is why Congress must also pass a larger package that tackles climate change head on.
- The bipartisan bill does have some good things for climate:
- Helps reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks and funds electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- Upgrades the electric grid and transmission system to prepare for new wind and solar as well as smart metering and EVs
- Helps plug orphan oil and gas wells that are major sources of methane pollution and reclaim abandoned mine lands so they can be restored for nature
- Invests in carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture (taking CO2 out of the air directly so it can be used or stored underground) and the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to move CO2 from where it is captured to where it will be stored or turned into a useful product like concrete
- Puts some needed funding into ecosystem restoration, wildfire prevention and management, and Western water management.
However, while measures like EV infrastructure, grid upgrades, and CCUS investments help enable future climate gains, there is a lot more needed from Congress to address climate now. On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to come out with another update on our warming planet, and will sound the alarm that climate impacts are already widespread and severe in the U.S. Emissions must come down swiftly for the globe to have a chance at keeping within a 1.5-degree warming limit – the point after which impacts become disastrous.
- Climate items that are not included in the bipartisan bill that are badly needed through a larger budget reconciliation package include:
- A plan to move electric utilities off of coal and gas in favor of clean power sources by 2035
- A robust extension of tax credits for installing and producing clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades, and electric vehicle purchases
- Tax credits for new transmission lines that will carry electricity from new wind and solar plants to the communities where it will be used
- Tax incentives for the production of clean energy machinery and electric vehicles so America is leading the way in manufacturing these things at home
- Investments in ecosystem restoration and resilience that fully meet the need and empower nature to thrive and help draw down CO2
- A 21st century Civilian Conservation/Climate Corps to tackle climate change, restore our lands and waters, make our communities more resilient, and create jobs
The science is clear: We need to act now if we are going to prevent a climate disaster. This moment is the time to go big and act decisively. Congress must pass the bipartisan bill that sets the stage, then move on to the main event.
Tell Hoosier senators to act on climate now by supporting the inclusion of these items!