A month ago, negotiations over America's Build Back Better were dead in the water. Joe Manchin was the man who'd sold the world for a few pieces of silver, and technology offered our only hope of salvation. Or so many of us must have thought.
Finally, after three decades of inaction, the US passed the Inflation Reduction Act, containing $369 billion in climate and energy spending, the country's first ever economy-wide emissions-reduction bill. It's the most significant climate news since China announced its net zero target in 2020, and maybe since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Politics, it turns out, can give us hope too (and sometimes when we least expect it). As Robinson Meyer says in The Atlantic, "history's greatest obstacle to climate progress has finally fallen," and the US stands poised to take up its mantle once again as 'the indispensable nation' when it comes to solving the world's biggest challenges. That might sound a little grandiose, until you consider that not only does the IRA get the US to within striking distance of its 2030 climate target, it also makes renewables everywhere cheaper, giving China, India and every other country an incentive to decarbonize that has nothing to do with saving the world, and everything to do with saving money.
There's been a ton of coverage, so we're not going to repeat it all here. Instead, here's some news you might not have come across yet. Firstly, a bit of context. While it's a lot of money, don't forget that China and Europe are spending even more. China is already spending almost the same as that every year, and Europe will spend almost twice as much by 2027, says Bloomberg
Here's the New York Times resident climate doomsayer David Wallace-Wells, sounding surprisingly upbeat. "Not that long ago, the upfront cost of a green transition looked almost incalculably large. Today it seems plausible that quite dramatic emissions gains can be achieved for just $369 billion - with an estimated payoff of nine million new American jobs, to boot."
Although it’s attracted little attention, the bipartisan CHIPS Act, signed into law just a few days before the IRA, contains an estimated $67 billion for clean energy R&D and climate resilience. On its own, that makes it one of the largest climate bills ever passed by Congress, says The Atlantic
Vibe shift anyone?
For more good news on this subject, perk yourself up even further by reading: 100% Renewable Energy Can Be Achieved By 2050 - “Many young people are depressed because they feel climate change cannot be stopped. We want to offer them hope by showing that our world can get all its energy needs from renewables at a price below that of fossil fuels. When we first proposed this, we were ridiculed, but this paper shows our ideas are now scientific mainstream", says Auke Hoekstra from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Read on...