Historic US climate bill nearly halving emissions passes through congress

A historic bill which is estimated to nearly halve the USA’s carbon emissions by 2030 has been passed through congress and will be signed into law this week by President Joe Biden.

This follows much debate and a dramatic U-turn by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who initially opposed the Inflation Reduction Act, as he believed the bill would make inflation worse.

The bill is a watered-down version of the earlier $3.5tn Build Back Better Bill which was voted down but will still see $370bn invested into climate solutions such as retrofit and renewable energy.

Vice president Kamala Harris used her vote to push the bill through the Senate, since the vote was split 50-50, and the bill then went on to pass through the House of Representatives on Friday.

man in white dress shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on white and black solar panel

‘The choice we face as Americans is whether to protect the already-powerful or find the courage to build a future where everybody has a shot,’ wrote Joe Biden on Friday. ‘Today, I proudly watched as House Democrats chose families over special interests.

‘In this historic moment, I want to thank Congressional Democrats for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act. It required many compromises. Doing important things almost always does. I look forward to signing it into law.’

The package could reduce US emissions by 40% by 2030 and will help families to cope with cost of living pressures, with $306bn earmarked for debt reduction.

By raising corporate minimum tax on large corporations by 15% and expanding Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement it’s expected the bill will pay for itself, by raising $739bn over the decade.

The bill also aims to lower medical costs for the elderly, with healthcare programme Medicare allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices under the package, saving federal government about $288bn over the 10 year period.

Modelling by Princeton University has shown the bill could double the amount of clean energy produced in the nation by 2024, putting the US in line with COP26 climate pledges to half 2005 levels of emissions by 2030.

‘The Inflation Reduction Act is the most important investment America has ever made in job-creating clean energy solutions for the future,’ wrote Joe Biden on Twitter. ‘In 2021, there were 240 million solar panels operating in America. In eight years, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there will be nearly a billion.’

Photo by Bill Mead


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