First Year of Climate Law Shows Progress and Promise

One year ago, on August 16 2022, President Biden signed into law the most transformative investments in fighting climate change, environmental justice, and resource conservation ever. While much of the law remains to be fully implemented, the last 52 weeks have already demonstrated the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) potential to remake and build a clean economy right here in America.

The centerpieces of the law’s climate investments are $360 billion in tax credits for businesses to provide clean, renewable energy, manufacture green technologies such as solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles, and capture and sequester carbon dioxide from the air and from industrial facilities. For individual families, it provides tax credits and rebates to help purchase rooftop solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other energy-efficient appliances.

President Joe Biden stands behind a podium. There are reporters in the crowd before him.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks before signing H.R. 5376, the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022”, Tuesday, August 16, 2022, in the State Dining Room of the White House. Official White House photo. Photo credit: Cameron Smith

Along with investments made through two previous laws aimed at infrastructure and manufacturing, these incentives have had their intended effect, with companies announcing hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in clean energy and clean technology manufacturing. These investments will spur the creation of hundreds of thousands of quality, American jobs all across the country. Researchers at Goldman Sachs estimate that IRA will eventually generate $3 trillion of investment in clean energy technology, driving an “energy revolution” here in America. And because many of these credits require or become more lucrative if they utilize domestic supply chains, they are driving a “renaissance in American manufacturing.”

All of this is good news for the families who live and work in and around the communities where all of this new investment is taking place, and it is especially good news for the rapidly changing climate. With the globe currently suffering amidst its hottest summer ever and deadly wildfires raging in unlikely places like Canada and Hawaii, we see more clearly every day how urgently we need to transform our polluting economy. Studies continue to show that IRA’s investments will help the United States nearly reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, with the benefits only growing after that.

One year in, it is clear the IRA has pointed us in the right direction, with more work to be done to fully implement it and ensure it does all it can to benefit people, wildlife, and the climate. And the U.S. must keep its foot on the gas in taking other measures to drive down emissions and help communities and ecosystems cope with and adapt to the changing climate. But after decades of waiting for definitive climate action at the federal level, let’s all cheer on this really good start.

While we celebrate, we also continue to act. Don’t let this momentum slow down – use your voice to urge Congress to continue to invest in climate solutions and the protection and restoration of natural landscapes.