Home Climate justice Senate passes landmark climate bill – Grist

Senate passes landmark climate bill – Grist

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Today is Tuesday August 9 and the Senate has approved an important climate and energy package.

After more than a year of negotiations, Senate Democrats on Sunday passed ambitious legislation aimed at reducing cumulative U.S. greenhouse gas emissions about 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the day. end of the decade.

The $433 Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, is “the most comprehensive piece of legislation affecting the American people in decades,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.

The bill was drafted in a whirlwind when, after months of painful back and forth, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia abruptly agreed two weeks ago to back a spending package with more than $369 billion. dollars in clean energy tax credits and other climate finance. and energy programs. Just three days after conservative Democrat Kirsten Sinema of Arizona signed the bill, all 50 Senate Democrats voted in favor, overcoming uniform opposition from 50 House Republicans.

Vice President Kamala Harris voted on Sunday, paving the way for unprecedented investment in everything from solar panels to wind turbines to electric cars. The bill includes half a billion dollars to produce more heat pumps and process more minerals essential to electric car batteries, and about $60 billion of its climate funding is specifically aimed at strengthening environmental justice, for example. example by reducing port pollution.

Independent analyzes predict that the IRA could avoid around 6.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade and prevent up to 3,894 premature deaths per year by 2030. That the bill contains support for fossil fuel projects – a concession to earn Manchin’s blessing – experts say would prevent 24 tonnes of emissions for every tonne caused by leasing for oil and gas drilling.

“The bill certainly isn’t perfect, but that’s how we were able to do it,” Matt Casale, director of environmental campaigns for the nonprofit American public interest research group, told me. . Meanwhile, May Boeve, executive director of non-profit organization 350.org, called on conservationists to oppose the bill’s fossil fuel provisions. “Communities have been sold into this bill, and I think those same communities are going to fight back extremely powerfully,” she told me. “We must all join them.”

The House of Representatives is expected to pass the IRA on Friday. After that, it will go to President Joe Biden’s office to be signed into law.

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