Biden’s climate law, a triumph with an asterisk

This Tuesday is apride day” for the Joe Biden Administrationas Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted.

The president of the United States is going to stamp his signature on the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, a law that encompasses goals long cherished by the Democrats in health, fiscal matters and the fight against climate change. This is, without a doubt, a crucial legislative achievement, one that has breathed an air of optimism in the white house on the position of the president and in the Democratic Party ahead of the elections November Legislative. But the victory, especially in environmental matters, comes with a asterisk.

Both the main groups of climate activistsrepresentatives especially of the younger generations, as featured experts and scientists have warned that the concessions made to secure support for conservative Senator Joe Manchin’s rule represent a clockmaking bomb environmental. They also fear that, with the announced intention of a political tour selling the benefits of the law, a certain political and social complacency.

Several groups have sent Congress a letter reminding them that “their work is not done.” And hundreds also sent a letter to Biden asking him to use his executive power for declare a climate emergency that allows curbing the expected impact of some of these concessions, a step that the president is not expected to take.

Pros and cons

The law destines $369 billion to tax credits, investments and other incentives that seek to promote a clean energy economy In U.S.A. It has extended 10 years, for example, credits for solar and wind projects and establishes aid for households and citizens to transition to more efficient appliances or electric vehicles. The clear bet is that the norm accelerate market changes that are already taking place, gradually displacing fossil fuels, while the US also recovers some of the international credibility lost during the presidency of Donald Trump.

To gain Manchin’s much-needed support, however, the legislation has come to include highly problematic measures as well. It establishes, for example, that it should be offered to those who currently have drilling concessions on federal lands and waters be able to buy them. In addition, it conditions the establishment of solar and wind energy infrastructures to the sale thousands of hectares for oil and gas extraction. It also revives the largest of the current drilling projects, in the Gulf of Mexico, which a judge had stopped due to its environmental impact.

Another aspect denounced by activists and experts is the cut regulations of permits, which they warn will allow them to receive the green light faster and more easily oil and gas pipeline projects or of facilities for exportn. They also question the allocation of funds to techniques of effectiveness not yet proven, such as carbon capture and hydrogen generation. And they recall that there is still a long way to go to ensure that special attention is paid to lower income neighborhoods and the minority populationwhich disproportionately suffers the most negative impact of the climate emergency.

“It is how to lose 10 kilos when you need to lose 50“, has graphically summarized for New York Times Robert McNally of the energy advisory firm Rapidan Energy Group.

With the White House preparing a tours to “sell” throughout the country the achievements of the law, activists and pundits also fear that the triumphalist message will overshadow the pending challenges and leave those who do not follow or know the detail of environmental science with a feeling of finished work.

This Tuesday, Biden assured that the law “positions the United States to meet climate goals” who marked: a reduction of between 50 and 52% of emissions pollutants from 2005 levels by 2030. But calculations on the impact of the legislation still leave that cut in the 40%. At least two thirds of that percentage had already been achieved with measures prior to this law.

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