Claim: The White House claims that the Inflation Reduction Act will fight climate change and invest in climate solutions, and it is “the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history.”
Rating: This claim is TRUE. According to impartial climate change experts, the Inflation Reduction Act will help the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
On Aug. 17, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, with the White House calling it, “the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history.” It invests $369 billion to fight climate change.
According to EarthJustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization, the Inflation Act addresses three key components: Making clean energy more accessible, investing in zero-emission transmission and creating jobs in clean energy, and establishing the United States as the leader in tackling climate change.
The first component, making clean energy more accessible, ensures lower to middle income individuals access to electric-powered energy options, from electric cars to heat pump systems. This bill also includes a number of tax credits and other financial incentives to make clean energy more affordable, including:
- Homeowners will receive up to $14,000 to make their homes more energy efficient, such as by installing new electric appliances or solar panels. This will also lead to a reduction in home energy bills.
- $4,000 in consumer tax credits for those buying used electric vehicles and up to $7,500 tax credits for new electric vehicles.
The Inflation Reduction Act also invests in alternative energy sources, and moves the U.S. away from using fossil fuels. The U.S. will build on-shore clean energy manufacturing which includes solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and critical mineral processing. This will create new opportunities for skilled American workers in clean energy and drive development of domestically manufactured equipment. There is also $2 billion in grants to retool existing auto manufacturing facilities to produce clean vehicles.
This investment in zero-emission transmission will also go towards clean energy public transportation and pollution reduction, which will reduce long-term pollution that historically has affected lower and middle income Americans more. The U.S. Department of Energy says that clean energy investments in the Inflation Reduction Act will improve human health.
Many climate experts agree with President Biden that the Inflation Reduction Act meaningfully addresses climate change. Princeton University geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer calls the Inflation Reduction Act “brilliant,” and that “nothing else Congress has done on climate change in the past comes close to its scope and potential.” He also says that the bill places the U.S. as the global leader in climate change action.
Some experts say that the Inflation Reduction Act is not perfect. Columbia Law School professor, and environmental lawyer, Michael Gerrard says the bill does allow for oil and gas companies to expand drilling operations, and that more action is needed to limit fossil fuels. But he says that “the environmental benefits of the bill far exceed the costs.”
With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden has committed the United States to meaningful domestic action towards lower carbon emission, moving one step closer to the promises made in the Paris Climate Accords — where 196 countries agreed to reduce global warming. This Act will help lower and middle income Americans transition to clean energy. It will also fund domestic clean energy creation, electric car manufacturing, incentivize businesses to adapt cleaner technologies, and invest in low-carbon technology.