For the next four months, Congress will be making one of the most important decisions of our lifetimes. Whether or not to invest in clean electricity and transportation, create millions of jobs, advance environmental justice, and protect generations to come from the climate crisis. The alternative is to continue our deadly and expensive dependence on fossil fuels that are intensifying weather events, wildfires, and the pollution that disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities. Our dependence on oil means the American economy is at the mercy of world oil markets, and we need bold steps to move to clean energy that is made in America, so we don’t face price shocks every time there’s a world crisis and fall behind in global innovation.
Repositioning our country to lead on climate action
On his first day in office, President Biden announced that we would rejoin the Paris Agreement, an international pact with more than 190 countries committed to averting catastrophic climate change, and he didn’t stop there. He followed with a pledge to cut U.S. climate pollution by 50%-52% by 2030, putting the U.S. in the top tier of global climate ambition. He created a “climate cabinet” that includes the most diverse group of senior officials in key leadership positions; most notably, appointing Michael Regan as the first Black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He formed the first-ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to raise awareness of Environmental Justice issues and provide guidance to government entities on how to address them. President Biden has also established the historic Justice40 initiative to commit at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to overburdened communities.
The Down Payment On Climate Action
The bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law last November is a first step toward building a stronger, cleaner economy. It includes several critically important climate investments, including funding for lead pipe replacement, electric buses, community resilience against natural disasters, electric vehicle charging stations, the cleanup of polluting orphan oil and gas wells and an expansion of broadband to support farmers and rural communities. Importantly, it also provides a massive $20 billion investment in clean energy research and development. But we can’t stop there: Congress needs to act on the biggest clean energy investment bill in American history.
Making the case for the full investment
When advancements are made with clean energy and clean transportation, public health and the economy gets stronger. Passing major climate investments will help Americans save on their energy bills up to $500 per year of savings. In many cases, renewable power sources are the most affordable option. We’ve seen major cost decreases in solar and onshore wind over the last decade.
Our earth is vital and the investments on the table have the potential to address the environmental injustices communities of color have been facing for far too long. Now, Congress and the White House need to finish the job by passing legislation to ensure a clean, safe and equitable future. Climate action cannot wait.