TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In 1988, NASA climate scientist James Hansen famously testified to Congress that humans were unwittingly warming the globe by burning fossil fuels. It took 34 years for U.S. lawmakers to heed the warning – but this past Sunday, the Senate passed its first major bill to combat climate change.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a big deal for climate and energy, earmarking $369 billion dollars over 10 years to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The legislation uses tax incentives to compel electric utilities to expand clean energy and entice everyday Americans to buy solar panels and electric cars.
Now, there is a trade off for the fossil fuel industry, the bill requires the federal government to balance renewable energy development by offering leases to drill oil on public land.
Still, studies estimate this bill will help the United States reduce its carbon emissions 40% by 2030 and potentially create 9 million clean energy jobs.
It will also help the US better compete with China whose clean energy investment is more than double that of the US.
Berardelli: Isn’t there a stipulation in the bill that requires that in order for these tax rebates and incentives on electric vehicles to be applicable, a certain percentage of the parts need to be made in America?
Stokes: That’s right. A lot of this bill is about creating an industry here in the United States on everything from electric vehicle manufacturing, to heat pumps, to solar panels and that’s going to be great because not only is that going to be creating good paying, union jobs, it’s also going to change the politics so that we have clean energy jobs in every single district in this country.
There’s also a pile of money for weather. NOAA gets $200 million for supercomputing and $100 million for hurricane hunters. The House votes on the measure in the coming days.