Last week U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. The bill is already being hailed by some as the most important action the United States government has taken toward climate change mitigation, although some economists question the legislation’s immediate impact on inflation. According to a White House brief, some of the biggest benefits are expected to come in the form of lower healthcare and prescription drug costs, more affordable clean energy development for consumers and businesses, and a reduction in the nation’s deficit. The IRA offers many opportunities to companies taking on climate change
“You have to shake the tree to get the plum,” Thomas Peterson, CEO of The Center for Climate Strategies, said in a briefing about the recent legislation held by the American Sustainable Business Network last week. He’s speaking to the opportunities this legislation opens to businesses, including a lot of money. The bill invests $369 billion toward energy security and climate change, according to a summary published by Senate Democrats.
Peterson has been involved in climate legislation from the time of the Kyoto Protocol, at one point acting as senior advisor to the White House Climate Change Task Force. He said he’s seen a lot of progress since that landmark moment. While the Kyoto Protocol took a more top-down approach, Peterson noted that the Paris Agreement now has a more grassroots take on progress.
The only issue with the Paris Agreement, Peterson said, is that it doesn’t self-implement. It simply doesn’t provide funds to do so. Even so, Peterson calls the Paris Agreement the biggest policy development for climate in the last 27 years. What’s more? He places the IRA right under the Paris Agreement as its “kissing cousin” in significance. Basically, the U.S. is finally putting its money where its mouth is — and the country’s climate goals need a lot of money, he emphasized. After all, by 2030 the U.S …