More than 30 years after scientists began sounding the alarm on climate change at an international level, the US has decided to do something about it.
The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in September, emerged from the ashes of the ill-fated Build Back Better Act, the Biden administration’s first effort to address climate change. For months, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat who was the deciding vote in a split Senate, kept any hope of climate legislation hostage for months as he extracted favors for his dirty funders and waffled over certain provisions; early in the summer, Manchin said he would not vote for the Build Back Better bill with its existing climate and tax provisions intact. But in a July surprise, Manchin worked with Democratic leaders to produce the Inflation Reduction Act, which allocates $370 billion in tax cuts, rebates, and other investments to combat climate change and kickstart the energy transition.
It’s the best climate bill the US has ever passed because it is, to date, the only climate bill the US has ever passed. But despite Manchin’s dramatics, signing it into law was the easy part. Next year will see the real beginning of the implementation of the bill’s wide-ranging mandates—and resistance from Republicans, who seem poised to sniff out any issues with renewable energy entities receiving government money. Buckle up.