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Inflation Reduction Act is Law: What Next for Climate?

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Friday, August 19, 2022   

Although President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, he's getting pressure to declare a climate emergency to provide further funding. That would allow for additional provisions to fight the effects of climate change and reduce fossil-fuel use in the United States.

Connecticut is seeing the effects firsthand, as much of the state is in a severe drought. And parts of New London and Windham counties are experiencing an extreme drought, an even more advanced drought advisory.

Dominic Frongillo. executive director of the group Elected Officials to Protect America, said he believes declaring a climate emergency is a necessity.

"What declaring a climate emergency will allow President Biden to do," he said, "is to halt crude exports for crude oil, stop offshore oil-and-gas drilling, restrict international investment in fossil fuels, and to be able to accelerate the manufacturing and the homegrown jobs here in the United States, in an investment to ramp up renewable-energy production."

One thousand elected officials in the group, across the United States, have signed a letter urging that a climate emergency be declared. A bill was introduced in the U.S. House in 2021 asking that Biden declare a climate emergency, but it has languished in committee since then.

While the Inflation Reduction Act is one of the largest investments in fighting climate change, Frongillo said he feels the shortfalls cancel out the benefits. One instance he cited is how investment in fossil fuels can continue despite moving to renewable energy. He said he sees this bill as a great success, but feels it helps oil-and-gas companies too much.

"By opening up public lands for leasing, and because the fossil-fuel industry is primarily responsible for the climate crisis, is driving the climate crisis," he said. "We need a clear and strong plan to get America off fossil fuels, to lead the world in phasing out fossil fuels."

Frongillo said he is optimistic about the new law being a catalyst for a bigger leap to renewable resources. However, without a climate-emergency declaration, he said he feels the United States might not reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50%.


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