This is the first in a two-part series on the implications of the historic climate and health spending package, which President Biden signed into law earlier this week. Read the second post here.
With the signature of President Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) now marks the most significant climate policy action the United States has ever taken. The defining feature of this law is that it seeks to wring carbon dioxide emissions out of the U.S. economy by relying heavily on policy "carrots," like subsidies, instead of policy "sticks," such as regulating the fossil fuel industry or attempting to capture the external costs of greenhouse gas emissions through carbon pricing.
In this regard, the new law represents a significant departure from past unsuccessful legislative efforts to tackle the climate crisis and, as we argue in Part I of this series, is a groundbreaking and respectable effort to decarbonize. However, as we argue in Part II, its provisions could potentially place an unacceptably heavy burden on marginalized communities and thus may fall short of fulfilling the administration's commitment to climate justice.
Setting the Path to a Clean Energy Future
The IRA directs $369 billion toward a …
This is the second in a two-part series on the implications of the historic climate and health spending package, which President Biden signed into law earlier this week. Read the first post here.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will subsidize our nation's clean energy revolution and have a positive impact on climate-driven economics, as noted in Part I of this series. That said, the IRA isn't flawless. Notably, it includes several subsidies for fossil fuels, which will be counterproductive as our nation works toward its climate goals.
Worse still, not all "carrots" for clean energy technologies are good, and the IRA includes a potentially bad one. Specifically, the IRA risks subsidizing the clean energy transition through perpetuating environmental injustice in how we obtain and use energy to fuel our economy.
It is well known that the fossil fuel industry was built in part by concentrating the costs …
The apparent death of an urgently needed clean energy and climate justice bill is a staggering loss for the country and the climate.
Because no Senate Republicans were expected to support the legislation, passage fell to Democrats, who hold a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate — and efforts to make an intraparty deal failed to emerge despite months of effort.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) had reportedly reached an agreement on a prescription drug plan — a major sticking point in negotiations over the legislation, originally known as the Build Back Better Act. But Manchin effectively killed the bill’s clean energy provisions on July 14.
Left on the Senate’s cutting room floor appear to be up to $300 billion in clean energy provisions, including:
An article co-written by Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar David Adelman and Attorney Advisor at the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) Jori Reilly-Diakun was selected for inclusion in this year’s Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR). ELPAR is a student-edited volume published annually in the August issue of the Environmental Law Reporter. It features abridged versions of selected articles with commentary from environmental experts.
Adelman, a law professor at the University of Texas, holds a Ph.D. in chemical physics and a law degree from Stanford University. Previously, he worked on environmental cases as a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, promoting environmentally conscious practices. He was appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Advisory Board and has served on multiple committees as a science expert.
His and Reilly-Diakun’s article, “Environmental Citizen Suits and the Inequities of …