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President Biden Climate change bill

Optimism in the climate change fight

So much is happening so quickly. With the climate bill now law, here's what you need to know.

Unless you've been off the grid, you know that Congress passed – and Biden on Tuesday signed – the biggest package of climate change legislation the United States (and the world) has seen.


At Environmental Health Sciences, we put news and science into context. What we're seeing right now is optimism:

Those in the trenches working on climate mitigation, climate solutions, clean energy and climate justice say goals that felt impossible yesterday feel achievable today.

There are caveats of course – and we will get to those in a minute. But today's not a day to let the bad news overshadow the good.

So much is happening, so quickly, you need a way to keep up. Our team works around the clock across 11 time zones to find the most consequential news about our health and environment.

Here's a quick roundup of some reporting you may not have seen amid the torrent of coverage.

Inflation Reduction Act, explained

Start with the basics.

One of the better overviews comes from vlogger Hank Green, who in 23 minutes dissects the bill, its flaws, the history of climate obstruction and how the Inflation Reduction Act overcomes them. There's even, as a friend noted, "a bit of cathartic rage" at the end as a bonus.

Green captures the optimism of the moment: "Nothing gets done if you don't believe it can get done. And I, for the first time in decades of this, have started to believe it can be done."

It's long, but graphics, factoids and an interview with EPA administrator Michael Regan make it worth your time.

How the Inflation Reduction Act helps you

climate bill home efficiency credits

The Inflation Reduction Act contains a number of provisions for home efficiency credits

Credit: Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash

How does the bill help you?

"One of the most damaging legacies of the intersection between racism and fossil fuels is how highways were built to cut through Latino and Black communities…. The Inflation Reduction Act includes a federal infusion of cash for community projects aimed at addressing some of the harmful effects of these projects."

"This measure could especially help young Americans buy their first car and skip the gas pump forever."

Helping Nature … and the GOP

Wilderness hike

A hiker crosses an alpine meadow in Montana's Lee Metcalf Wilderness

Credit: Douglas Fischer/EHS

Major news outlets have flooded the zone with coverage, and Politico and the Washington Post are no exception. They have two fine sidebars worth attention:

The Post's Brady Dennis looks away from high-tech solutions to focus on how the bill helps … Mother Nature.

"The Inflation Reduction Act includes an acknowledgement that land is a profound ally in the fight against climate change," he writes.

And Politico's Catherine Morehouse has a delightful little poke of GOP governors opposing the Democrat-driven climate bill – and how their states stand to gain.

  • A key stat: "Republican-led states are some of the largest wind and solar producers in the U.S. and have benefited greatly from the past decade of green energy expansion not only through job growth, but through lower ratepayer prices."

The 'Battery Belt'

Inflation Reduction Act Battery Belt

North America's new 'battery belt' largely overlaps its old 'rust belt.'

Credit: Axios

Axios has a sharp piece looking at how investments in battery tech promise to revive America's heartland.

  • Why it matters: "The package is a major economic jolt for a big swath of the country — being called the new Battery Belt — where manufacturers are building lots of electric-vehicle-related factories."

Reality check: Dark clouds

All is not roses.

This is a compromise bill, and while it pours $360 million into climate change efforts, people in neighborhoods already dealing with a lot of pollution fear they will face more harm, not less, NPR's Rebecca Hersher cautions in a piece worth reading.

  • "There are some parts [of the law] that are good, and there are some parts that are really bad," Mijin Cha, a professor at Occidental College, told NPR. "And the parts that are really bad are pretty significant."

EHS founder Pete Myers is particularly alarmed at funding for largely discredited carbon capture and sequestration technologies

  • "Many of our allies in the environmental justice community feel betrayed, especially because the huge amount of money that is going toward CCS will allow heavy polluters in their neighborhoods to get excuses and political cover as this false solution claims billions of dollars and lets the polluters keep going."

Charles Harvey and Kurt House, who launched a carbon capture venture 14 years ago, say as much in a NYT op-ed: Every Dollar Spent on This Climate Technology Is a Waste

Juice Media, an Australian political satire group, skewers the concept in an entertaining 2021 video:

Honest Government Ad | Carbon Capture & Storage

The Australian Government has made an ad about Carbon Capture and Storage, and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

The bigger picture from Congress

A tweet thread from Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, puts the Inflation Reduction Act in a larger perspective.

The scale of legislative productiveness out of Congress, Schatz notes, is hard to portray accurately "without sounding a bit left-leaning."

The climate bill is just the latest in a string of legislation that includes an infrastructure package, postal reform, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, veterans support.

"When you add all of this up, it’s not just a lot of bills. Each one of these was thorny, complicated, difficult, and ambitious," he tweeted.

The full tweet thread

The power of our aggregation

We work hard to get you the top news when you need it. Environmental Health Sciences publishes two websites:

For the top aggregated news on climate change, visit DailyClimate.org. The "politics" tab gets you a pile of political coverage.

EHN.org focuses more broadly on our environmental health. But it also keeps those climate stories in one place.

And EHS delivers top stories to your inbox daily, free of charge:

Disagree with our optimism? Or have a story to recommend?

Is our optimism overrated or clearly biased? Did we miss a story you found insightful?

We'd love to hear from you! Send your thoughts on the climate bill – or pass along a story URL or informative tweet thread: feedback@ehsciences.org

This story is developing. We'll update this page and share relevant suggestions.

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