Passing the Build Back Better climate jobs and clean energy provisions is our best chance of achieving the necessary reductions and averting climate catastrophe; we just can’t wait any longer.
With each passing day, the planet is warming and the window to advance urgent climate legislation is shrinking. As the United States celebrates independence in July, we can also establish ourselves as a global leader in the fight against the climate crisis – the ultimate act of patriotism and duty to country.
After more than a year of missed opportunities, this summer ushered in a watershed opportunity for the US Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act’s $555 billion climate jobs and clean energy package. passed by the House. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must put climate at the top of the agenda and work to pass a fiscal reconciliation package by Independence Day as Democrats hold always the majority.
The climate and jobs package would put the country on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below peak levels by 2030, which is about the pace that scientists say the whole world must follow to prevent the Earth from warming more than 2.7 F. Experts warn that beyond this threshold, the threat of catastrophic weather events will increase enormously.
Passing the Build Back Better climate jobs and clean energy provisions is our best chance of achieving the necessary reductions and averting climate catastrophe; we just can’t wait any longer. If Democrats lose control of Congress after midterm elections this fall, hopes for meaningful climate action at the federal level will be dashed. Conversely, if the Senate follows the House’s lead and sends this legislation to the President’s office, it would mark the largest federal investment ever in clean energy and usher in a new era for our nation’s energy system. .
Americans want to see this action. A Pew Center poll in January found that 69% of Americans favor federal action toward carbon neutrality by 2050. The climate package would have far-reaching impacts beyond reducing 5.2 billion tons of carbon. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It would spur inherently deflationary clean energy projects, help strengthen energy security and national security, create millions of jobs, improve community health and reduce energy expenditure of $67 billion per year, saving US households $300 per year.
The bulk of the funding – around $320 billion – would go towards providing tax credits for installing residential and commercial solar power, retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient and the purchase of electric vehicles. These provisions alone would mark the largest climate investment in our country’s history, setting the course to achieve our goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while creating millions of well-paying jobs, reducing energy costs to consumers, advancing environmental justice, investing in climate-resilient housing and community infrastructure, and strengthening our economy.
As Americans face historically high prices at the gas pump, it’s also critical that we advance our nation’s energy independence and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. The Biden administration has already demonstrated its commitment to bolstering our domestic clean energy industry by invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost the manufacturing of solar technology on American soil. Build Back Better would build on that momentum, doing even more to kick-start domestic manufacturing of clean energy equipment, including wind turbines and solar panels.
The key to building back better is the protection and inclusion of low-income and historically disadvantaged communities. The bill would implement a 30% tax credit on solar project costs, plus an additional 10% to 20% tax credit for renewable energy systems located in or serving low-income communities. revenue. Basically, the solar tax credit would be made refundable or paid directly allowing everyone, including non-taxable entities like cities, nonprofits, tribes, and schools, regardless of their federal income tax, to access the tax credit. These provisions allow more Americans to experience the benefits of clean energy directly.
The overwhelming positive response to President Biden’s DPA announcement from the American people, the energy industry, environmental advocates, business leaders and the stock market last week clearly indicates that the future is in clean energy. If Majority Leader Schumer can pass this transformative legislation by July 4, he will secure his place in history at this pivotal moment for the United States of America. It’s the patriotic thing to do.
U.S. Army veteran Kevin Johnson is co-founder of CleanCapital, board director of the Environmental Defense Action Fund and American Resilience Project .
Odette Mucha is Federal Liaison Officer at Vote Solar and former White House and US Department of Energy analyst.
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