The new climate bill and what you can do
Over the weekend the US Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a bill that will do more to address climate change than any other passed by Congress. If enacted, it will send billions of dollars to wind, solar and battery development—all aimed at reducing carbon-based energy production and consumption.
Many of you know that I am a big proponent of taking steps now to fight climate change. This bill is important because it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions 31% to 44% below 2005 levels by 20301,an estimated 40% reduction. This compares to the Biden Administration’s goal of a 50% reduction by the same year. Greenhouse gases are considered the primary contributor to climate change.
Why is this important?
Because, based on current trends, the US and world is on a continued growth path to producing more greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change. Scientists broadly agree that action must be taken now in order to avoid the catastrophic, and likely irreversible effects of climate change in the coming years. In addition, the US cannot do it alone. Our global neighbors and partners need to see the US leading the way. As the second largest consumer of fossil fuels, why should anyone else do it if we are not? We need to lead the way.
Why should you care?
We are already seeing the effects of climate change with record-setting heat waves, out of control wildfires in Western US and around the world, deadly flash floods, devastating hurricanes, and rising sea levels which are threatening homeowner’s and our infrastructure. And this is just the beginning. In the future, these events are expected to intensify causing even more damage.
What can you do?
Climate change may seem like a large, far off global problem that individuals can do little about. But that is wrong because individuals have already taken steps (as is often the case with big changes). Demand for and purchases of electric vehicles in the US has risen dramatically in 2022. An electric car is a great start as these vehicles are more efficient and do not burn fossil fuels directly. Paired with home solar panels or clean electricity, driving an EV can eliminate one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gases.
Currently, taxpayers can apply for a federal tax credit up to $7,500 on the purchase of select model new cars. In Massachusetts they can also apply for a credit up to $2,500. If the new tax bill is enacted as expected, some car buyers will be eligible for an even larger federal tax credit (subject to income limits). Massachusetts has already passed a new budget with a higher state income tax credit on the purchase of a new electric vehicle.
Use less energy
Drive less, combine trips, car pool with a friend or family member, turn up the temperature on your air conditioning in summer, turn down the temperature on your heat in cooler months, turn off lights and little-used appliances, replace light bulbs with LED bulbs, insulate your home, install a smart thermostat, and install a heat pump and solar panels—are just a few ideas for reducing your energy consumption and carbon footprint.
In Massachusetts, a great place to start is with a home energy audit by MassSave, the non-profit energy efficiency organization funded by utility companies: https://www.masssave.com/ or call them to schedule a home energy audit at 866-527-SAVE (7283). They will assess your home and help you identify different ways that you can best save energy.
Don’t know where to start to save the planet from environmental catastrophe? Give me a call. I’m here to help. You can also schedule a quick call with me by clicking HERE.
Lyman H. Jackson
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1 Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-climate-plan-gets-early-green-light-11659798389?mod=hp_lead_pos3 8/8/2022.
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