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Turning the Corner on Climate, Rolling up Our Sleeves

A trail leading to forest and river on a sunny day.

After a decades-long battle, the U.S. has finally turned the corner on our fight to avert the most dangerous impacts of climate change with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). With the world teetering on the edge of climate catastrophe and extreme heat, wildfire and flood indiscriminately pummeling nearly every continent, Congress has passed what could be the most consequential law ever for our future generations, infusing $369 billion of clean energy investments to accelerate the shift to a zero polluting energy system.

Experts estimate this massive clean energy boost will cut U.S. climate pollution by 40 percent by 2030, which means the U.S. target of 50 percent reduction is within reach. And U.S. leadership is key to global action, giving more momentum and incentive for other big greenhouse gas polluting countries, especially China and India, to make similar commitments.

Turning the corner did not happen overnight. It took many decades of tenacious advocacy by environmental groups, elected champions, climate activists, and others. The Heising-Simons Foundation is honored to support the fight against climate change and is extremely grateful to all our grantee partners and the many others who worked tirelessly and relentlessly to find a path forward.

However, we understand the IRA is far from perfect; it offers far too many concessions to the fossil fuel industry. And while the tens of billions of dollars in the law for environmental justice priorities are an historic level of investment, the provisions to encourage expanded fossil fuel production put vulnerable, overburdened communities at risk.

We know the fight is not over and there is still important work to be done.

We must work to ensure the law provides a clean, equitable future for all communities, especially those most burdened by fossil fuel pollution. We must protect hard hit frontline communities from the threat of increased fossil fuel production and ensure the tens of billions of dollars for environmental justice priorities are effectively spent.

There is also more work to be done to ensure that IRA’s clean energy investments provide a decisive blow to the future of dirty fossil fuels. Reaching the U.S. goal to cut climate pollution in half by 2030 requires the Biden Administration to enact strong carbon pollution limits on the two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions: power plants and vehicles. And even though the IRA makes clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels, there are still significant barriers to rapid adoption, such as lack of high-power transmission lines and electric vehicle charging stations, which must be quickly tackled.

For now, we want to acknowledge a very special moment in our nation’s history. And tomorrow, we will roll up our sleeves and continue the hard work that remains to create a clean and equitable energy future.

Climate and Clean Energy