The House just approved the biggest climate investment in U.S. history — now it heads to the Senate

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  • House Democrats have passed President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social policy and climate bill, a measure that is by far the largest effort in US history to tackle climate change.
  • The bill invests $555 billion in climate programs, largely through providing tax incentives for low-emission energy sources.
  • If enacted, Biden’s framework would enshrine climate change action into law, making it difficult for future administrations to roll back such measures.

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House Democrats have passed President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social policy and climate bill, a measure that is the largest effort ever in US history to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions .

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This puts the US in a position to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

The bill invests $555 billion in climate programs, largely through providing tax incentives for low-emission energy sources. That’s less than the $600 billion in the Democrats’ original $3.5 trillion plan, but still emerges as the largest category in Biden’s bill.

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If enacted, Biden’s framework would enshrine climate change action into law, making it difficult for future administrations to roll back these measures. The last US attempt to pass climate legislation was in 2009, when congressional Democrats failed to approve a carbon pricing system under former President Barack Obama.

The largest climate spending components of the bill include a 10-year tax credit to expand and accelerate investment in renewable energy, including wind, solar and nuclear. The bill also includes a proposal to increase the electric vehicle tax credit to $12,500 for vehicles made in a union factory in the US.

Other climate-related items in the law include:

  • Providing consumer discounts for shifting to clean energy and electrification
  • Advancing environmental justice by investing in disadvantaged communities
  • Creating a new Citizen Climate Corp to create jobs and conserve public land
  • Investment in coastal restoration, forest management and soil conservation.

“Build Back a Better World is going to show that we can grow our economies, fight climate change, and leave a better, cleaner, more habitable planet for all our children,” President Glasgow said. Said in the comments at the COP26 climate summit. , Scotland earlier this month.

“This is the most consequential climate vote in our history,” Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “It’s about creating jobs, driving innovation, advancing equity, and ultimately facing rising costs and the growing threats of the climate crisis.”

Getting the plan through the Senate could prove challenging. Democrats cannot tolerate any defection from their 50-member caucus. And two prominent Democratic centrists, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, have not supported the presidential framework.

During negotiations in Washington, Manchin was able to thwart the Clean Electricity Program, an early core component of the presidential framework that would have encouraged energy companies to move away from fossil fuels to clean energy and penalized tainted companies. . The state of Munchkin is a top coal and gas producer, and last year the senator’s only source of income was a coal consulting business he founded.

Senate Democrats aim to pass the plan before Christmas and finish their agenda before next year’s midterm elections. The House would need to re-pass the bill if it is amended.

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