November 22, 2021

House Passes Build Back Better Bill - What This Means for Climate Change

The United States "took a significant step toward combating global warming" on Friday, when the House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion spending bill that "includes the largest expenditures ever made by the federal government to fight climate change", according to the New York Times.

“The plan, which was unveiled on Tuesday by the California Air Resources Board and the Governor's Office of Planning and Research...provides $555 billion for programs that could drastically reduce fossil energy use.”

The bill by itself isn't enough to meet President Biden's target that the United States will reduce carbon emissions by half from 2005 levels by the end of this decade. But it goes above and beyond any previous climate initiative taken in the United States or other countries.

“The $25 billion bill includes tax incentives to reduce the cost of electric cars, heat pumps, solar panels, turbines, and other equipment intended to power the economy without pollution. The House passed it by a margin of 220-213.”

According to a separate New York Times piece, "the bill could reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by about a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – roughly equivalent to taking all of the cars in the United States off the road for one year."

“The centerpiece of the new climate spending is $320 billion in tax incentives for wind, solar and nuclear power producers and purchasers intended to speed up a shift away from oil, gas, and coal. Buyers of electric automobiles would also profit; depending on the proportion of vehicle components manufactured in the United States and whether it was built by union workers."

The bill faces an uncertain future through the Senate, and negotiations between the two chambers may change its form, but we are closely following along.