Statement of Nathaniel Keohane
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
August 12, 2022
On passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 by the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Finally, a climate bill from Congress. This bill will not do everything needed; no bill does. Climate action is a long game, and much more will be needed from Congress as well as from the executive branch, states, cities, businesses, and every other actor. For now, it’s time to savor this moment—one that the climate community has sought for years and is all the sweeter for the work and effort required to get here.
“The legislation will help create good jobs and economic opportunity for communities around the country, even as we slash climate pollution. In early July, 25 companies called on Congress to pass climate investments included in this bill, and CEOs and executives called for them again last week. They want to see the United States lead in climate action, but they are also champing at the bit to invest in America, ready to pour additional capital in atop the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments. The climate fight may be decades old, but the U.S. clean-energy economy is born today.
“In the span of two years, the United States has risen from laggard to leader: from being among a handful of nations that was not a party to the Paris Agreement to one that has not only set an ambitious target of reducing emissions 50-52 percent by 2030 but has now taken a significant step toward meeting it. The $370 billion in clean energy investments the legislation contains—multiplied by the private investment it will help unleash—will give a vital boost toward implementing the target and generate momentum for accelerated climate action not only in the United States, but across the global economy. Those investments, once made, can’t be undone—even by a future administration in climate denial.
“While this is a welcome and important step to be celebrated, it is not of itself enough. The United States and the rest of the G20 nations will need to go further, faster by putting in place the domestic policies needed to transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to achieve climate resilience. The United States and others must also double down on efforts to make good on their commitments to deliver international climate finance to developing countries. And while the legislation invests $60 billion for climate justice priorities, that is just a beginning of what’s needed for an equitable transition. Making good on those promises is a vital precondition to build trust and accelerate climate action.”