Climate funding in the Inflation Reduction Act
Speaking Security Newsletter | Note n°165 | 29 July 2022
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The second pillar of Biden’s social + climate agenda—known as the reconciliation bill or the Build Back Better Act or BBB—died two deaths (first in December and again earlier this month) before reincarnating as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) this week.
Joe Manchin, Democratic senator from West Virginia and notable bugaboo of the BBB negotiations, agreed to $369 billion in climate-related funding over the next decade. That’s 57% less than what the September version of the bill contained and 37% less than what was in the bill the House passed in November.
Will it pass? Not sure yet. Because Democrats insisted it be fully ‘paid for’ (and then some), it might get Manchin on board, but not other conservative Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema who largely oppose taxing the rich.
Would it make a difference on climate?
The IRA is projected to make a 7-9% improvement in emissions reduction over existing policy, but it’s still too modest to meet Biden’s modest emissions target.
So more investments are needed, and big ones. But I’m concerned that Democratic leadership has made that more difficult by 1) leaning more and more into deficit dogmatism, and 2) overstating the significance and impact of the IRA—indeed, $369 billion (for climate-related activities) is a big number, but not when it’s spread out over 10 years, which it is under the IRA. As a per-year average, the IRA’s $36.9 billion investment is just 4% of the $850 billion Pentagon budget the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended this week for FY 2023.
-Stephen (@stephensemler; firstname.lastname@example.org)
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