Last week, Congressional Democrats in Washington passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and sent an extraordinary piece of legislation to President Biden. This $700 Billion bill includes $369 Billion towards energy security and climate solutions, making it the largest climate investment in U.S. history! It will create thousands of well-paying jobs, increase Georgia’s clean manufacturing sector, generate consumer incentives for clean energy and support communities facing environmental injustice. On top of that, it will help lower healthcare costs and the U.S. deficit, tackling inflation and concerns about the federal government debt.
How the Inflation Reduction Act affects Georgia
For our state of Georgia, there are three significant opportunities to benefit from this bill:
- $60 billion for clean energy manufacturing, creating clean, reliable, well-paying jobs in Georgia. We’ll see more companies like Rivian, Hyundai and Hanwha investing in our state, bringing clean industry and thousands of good, well-paying jobs.
- Consumer incentives for investments in home energy efficiency, electric vehicles and rooftop solar programs. Additionally, significant portions of the funding would go to low-income and disadvantaged communities. In Georgia, that means investments like heat pumps to lower temperatures and bills during summer and swapping from gas to electric heating systems for the winter.
- $60 billion investment in environmental justice, including climate justice grants, investments to reduce air pollution in port cities like Savannah and investments to support zero-emission technologies and low-income communities.
All these investments will mean an enormous reduction in carbon emissions; the Inflation Reduction Act is estimated to reduce emissions by a massive 40% by 2030. Furthermore, for those concerned with federal deficit and debt, this bill is paid for and more. There will not be tax increases on families or households; businesses making over $1 billion annually will pay for this bill by raising the corporate minimum tax rate to 15%. By making mega-corporations pay their fair share, the price tag for the Inflation Reduction Act is covered, with billions more available to reduce the federal deficit and pay down debt.
There are also the medium and long-term benefits that the Inflation Reduction Act will provide, a sort of unofficial fourth opportunity for Georgians. A study by the Rhodium Group shows that household energy costs would decline by $730 to $1,135 in 2030, a significant saving for families struggling with high energy bills.
A Big Step but Not Enough
While this is the largest climate action bill in American history, we know it’s far from perfect, and much more must be done. In the bill are two provisions that would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters.
These leasing provisions lock in decades of additional fossil fuel pollution and continue a racist legacy of sacrificing environmental justice communities. Greenlighting new fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with climate science and the administration’s climate goals. The science is clear: the federal government cannot approve any new fossil fuel leases and still stay within the U.S. carbon budget for keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. While we know that oil leasing does not automatically equal oil drilling, we’ll continue to stand with our allies across Georgia to advocate for a clean energy transition away from fossil fuels.
Still, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is the single largest climate investment in U.S. history and deserves to be celebrated. You can help by sending a thank you email to Georgia’s Senators and Democratic Representatives for passing the Inflation Reduction Act!
As we approach 2030 and 2050, critical markers in the collective fight to reduce climate change, we need more bold and ambitious actions like the Inflation Reduction Act. We must take steps now while we can minimize the most harmful effects of climate change and lay the foundations for a greener and more sustainable future. The Inflation Reduction Act proves we can grow a more prosperous economy while taking meaningful steps in climate action. This has to be just the beginning of many federal climate investments to come. GCV is also focused on key legislation at the state and local levels to continue to support climate and equity investments in our communities.
As funding and grants start to arrive in Georgia, we’ll be tracking the process closely and working with leaders across the state to ensure that investments go to communities that need them the most.
A greener, cleaner and more prosperous world is available. All we need to do is reach out and take it.