Celebrating Landmark Climate Legislation
Boats rescue Houston residents following 2017’s Tropical Storm Harvey. The Inflation Reduction Act includes investments for communities impacted by floods and other disasters fueled by climate change.
THIS AUGUST, CONGRESS PASSED the most substantial climate legislation in our nation’s history. The Inflation Reduction Act, first and foremost, sets the country on a firm course to address the climate crisis—the defining environmental challenge of our time. We now have a chance to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade. We have a chance to deploy cleaner sources of energy, reduce pollution, lower energy bills, create good jobs and address long-standing environmental injustices. And we have a chance to save millions of lives and mitigate the worst climate impacts—the megafires, droughts, floods, heat waves and hurricanes ravaging communities and leading to escalating migration.
Your team at the National Wildlife Federation was deeply involved in developing and passing the new legislation as part of our ongoing advocacy for climate action over the past two decades. The work began under my predecessor, Larry Schweiger, and continues today. Our Federation’s contributions are visible throughout the act, especially the work of our climate, environmental justice, forestry, agriculture, HECHO, public lands, wildlife policy and coastal teams. I’m particularly proud that we helped convince the act’s authors to increase investments in technology as well as prioritize natural climate solutions and investments in communities to address long-standing environmental inequities.
We also could not be prouder of the incredible ongoing work of our affiliates, field team, digital and communications teams and thousands of partner organizations on the ground. That these teams and partnerships met with such success, despite challenging political winds, is nothing short of amazing.
Unfortunately, as with any compromise legislation, the act includes a few worrisome provisions that could increase pollution in communities that have already borne a disproportionate amount. We are committed to standing with these communities to ensure the law does not create new sacrifice zones.
In addition, while the Inflation Reduction Act is indeed a historic leap forward, it is a floor, not a ceiling. We also need Congress to refocus and recommit to addressing the injustices that plague frontline, rural and historically ignored communities by passing the Environmental Justice for All Act and ensuring that our clean-energy future leaves no people or wildlife behind. So let’s celebrate our victory—but saddle back up because the work is just beginning!
Follow Collin O’Mara on Twitter @Collin_OMara. To share your thoughts and opinions, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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