The Inflation Reduction Act will speed this transition by providing tax credits over the next 10 years to develop and deploy clean energy like wind and solar. Money will also be used to help households become more energy efficient and to replace aging gas appliances with ones powered by electricity, like heat pumps and induction stoves. Middle- and low-income Americans will also be eligible for tax credits to help them buy electric vehicles, thereby reducing the carbon emissions and unhealthy air pollution from gasoline-powered cars and trucks.
The incentives in this legislation will provide economic opportunity here in the Tri-Valley by increasing the demand for products and services like Monarch Tractor, Gillig Electric Buses, our Solar Industries, Wind Power, and Regenerative Agriculture. It will bolster the measures in the Climate Action Plans developed by our cities. Innovation from the Livermore Lab, such as biogas utilization, carbon farming, and local microgrids, can expand beyond the demonstration level here in Livermore to implementation in many other communities.
Disadvantaged communities that typically bear the greatest burden from climate change and pollution will also get help. Some $60 billion will be used on environmental justice programs in those communities.
This long-sought breakthrough on climate legislation was made possible by grassroots support. Over the past year, for example, Citizens’ Climate Lobby generated more than 200,000 letters and phone calls to members of Congress. Members of other advocacy groups urged Congress to tackle climate as well. This victory was won by concerned citizens who made their voices heard by decision makers in Washington. We thank Rep. Eric Swalwell, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Sen. Alex Padilla for their votes for the Inflation Reduction Act.
Meaningful steps to fight climate disruption come not a moment too soon. Extreme weather-related disasters made worse by rising temperatures, like flooding this summer that killed dozens in Missouri and Kentucky, are becoming more frequent and could soon outpace our ability to adapt and recover. In California, the impact of an altered climate is being felt with prolonged drought, high temperature days, wildfires, sea level rise, and impacts on wildlife and forests.
Throughout the global community, the U.S. has been viewed as a laggard on climate change. This legislation will help restore U.S. climate leadership. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced in every country around the world, and our example will inspire and motivate other nations to increase their climate ambition.
More will be needed to meet the U.S. pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030, but for now let’s celebrate the passage of this historic legislation, which brings hope that we and future generations can live in a hospitable climate. It is a legacy that we owe to all beings with whom we share this miraculous planet.
Ann Brown, Group Leader, Tri-Valley Citizens’ Climate Education; Madeleine Para, Executive Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby.