State climate action could be bolstered by the Cut Inflation Act

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Hello and welcome to The Climate 202! Today we wonder if the Inflation Reduction Act will be lower the price of rawness. (Context here.) But first:

Much has been said about federal climate action. Don’t sleep on the state’s climate action.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard politicians and journalists talking about the Inflation Reduction Act advance the federal government’s fight against climate change.

But the landmark legislation, which President Biden signed into law on Tuesday, also contains a series of smaller but important investments in climate action at the state level. These less-noticed provisions could boost efforts to cut emissions and boost clean energy in all 50 states, according to governors and climate-conscious advocates.

“These are perhaps the smallest and most exciting investments,” the Washington governor said. Jay Inslee (D), who mounted a climate-focused presidential campaign in 2020, told The Climate 202.

“When the story is told, I think these will be presented as the most effective layouts,” Inslee said. “These are not mind-blowing numbers, but I think they will be mind-blowing results.”

The legislation includes the following investments in state climate action, according to the American Climate Alliancea bipartisan coalition of governors committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement:

  • $8.6 billion for state energy offices to help consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes through rebate programs.
  • $7 billion for states, municipalities and tribal governments to deploy clean energy technologies and reduce emissions in underserved communities through a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fundcommonly referred to as green banking.
  • $5 billion states, municipalities and tribal governments to develop and implement plans to reduce emissions through Grants for the reduction of climate pollution.
  • $2.2 billion for public and private forest conservation programs to promote natural carbon sequestration, including through tree planting.
  • $1 billion for state and local governments to adopt building energy codes, including $670 million for net zero energy codes.
  • $5 million for states to adopt stricter exhaust emission standards for cars and light trucks.

“What is monumental about this package is that it recognizes the role of states in tackling the climate crisis,” Casey Katims, executive director of the US Climate Alliance, told The Climate 202. “Implementing this package will be no small task, but I know governors are up to the challenge.”

The Cut Inflation Act authorizes $27 billion for the creation of a national green bank to provide low-cost financing for clean energy infrastructure projects.

  • Of the $27 billion, states and tribes can apply for $7 billion in grants and loans “to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy or benefit from zero-emission technologies,” the legislation says.
  • Green banks already exist in several states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and New York, according to the Green Capital Coalitionan advocacy group.

“What green banks have done over the past decade is help finance the elements of the clean energy transition: heat pumps, distributed solar, microgrids, electric vehicles and much more,” Reed HundtCEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, told The Climate 202.

In 2011, Connecticut created the nation’s first state-level green bank through bipartisan legislation. Since then the Green Bank of Connecticut mobilized $288.4 million in state dollars to attract $1.85 billion in private investment, a ratio of $7.40 in private dollars for every $1 in public money.

Bryan GarciaPresident and CEO of Green Bank of Connecticuttold The Climate 202 that the bank’s priority is to help low-to-moderate income families reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

“In this context of talking about inflation,” he said, “we’ve actually helped families and businesses reduce their energy costs.”

Of course, states are not immune to the partisan divide over climate action that persists in Washington.

  • Under the Trump administration, 16 states — almost all run by Democrats — and the District of Columbia have beefed up their climate goals, according to ClearView Energy Partnersan independent research company.
  • Under Biden, meanwhile, Republican-led state legislatures have sought to extend the life of coal plants and punish companies that divest from fossil fuels.

However, this dynamic could change as the Cut Inflation Act stimulates the deployment of more wind, solar and other renewable energy sources in red states.ClearView analysts wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.

“As renewable energy proliferates on the grids represented by the GOP,” they wrote, “their economic and political importance to government officials seems likely to grow.”

US announces new water cuts as Colorado River reaches extremely low levels

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it would impose unprecedented water use cuts in Arizona and Nevada, as a historic drought pushes the Colorado River Basin to a tipping point, Joshua Partlow and Karin Brullard reporting for the Washington Post.

The decision comes after seven states missed the Monday deadline, set by the recovery office in June, to reach a voluntary agreement on how to reduce water use by 2 million to 4 million acre-feet – up to one-third of the average annual flow of the Colorado River.

The question of how these states will distribute what remains of the dwindling water supply remains unresolved, but the Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau told reporters on Tuesday there was “still time” to strike a deal.

Under the new declaration, the lower Colorado River basin has reached a level 2 shortage, requiring water use reductions that will reduce what Arizona gets by 21%, Nevada by 8% and Mexico by 7%.

“The system is approaching a tipping point, and without action, we cannot protect the system and the millions of Americans who depend on this critical resource,” Mr. Camille Calimlim Touton, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, said at a press conference. “Protecting the system means protecting the people of the American West.”

The negotiations have caused tension between Western states as they try to balance the crisis worsened by climate change with their individual needs to support cities, agriculture and hydropower for millions of people.

Biden signs sweeping bill to fight climate change and cut health care costs

President Biden signed on Tuesday Inflation Reduction Act into law, marking the passage of the most ambitious climate and energy bill in the nation’s history, The Post’s Amy B Wang reports.

At a signing ceremony in the State Dining Hall of the White HouseBiden criticized Republicans for uniformly voting against the legislation.

“Let’s be clear: In this historic moment, Democrats have sided with the American people and every Republican in Congress has sided with special interests,” Biden said, adding, “Every Republican, every one, voted against the fight against the climate crisis. , against lowering our energy costs, against the creation of well-paid jobs.

Attendees included Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.), who brokered a surprise deal on the measure after weeks of private negotiations.

At one point, Biden glanced at Manchin and joked, “Joe, I never had any doubts,” prompting laughter from the audience. After Biden signed, he handed the pen to Manchin and shook his hand.

In the coming weeks, Biden is expected to hold meetings focused on implementing the new law, as well as traveling around the country touting ways he could help Americans. The White House is also planning an event on September 6 to celebrate the law.

The White House climate chief is sanctioned by a prestigious scientific body

The National Academy of Sciences tuesday said he blocked a key White House civil servant focused on climate change, Jane Lubchencoto participate in its publications and activities for five years, reports Maxine Joselow, your Climate 202 host.

The move marks a rare rebuke from Lubchenco, who is White House deputy climate and environment director. Office of Science and Technology Policy. The academy said Lubchenco violated its code of conduct before joining the Biden administration last year.

In particular, while he was editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesLubchenco accepted an article for publication co-authored by his brother-in-law and later retracted it because it was found to be based on outdated data.

House Republicans had previously expressed concern over the incident, saying in February letter at President Biden that Lubchenco “has demonstrated a clear disregard for rules intended to prevent conflicts of interest in the publication of peer-reviewed studies” but that he now “plays a leading role in developing and overseeing the best practices of this administration with regard to scientific integrity”.

In a statement, Lubchenco said, “I accept these penalties for my error in judgment in writing a paper authored by some of my research collaborators – an error for which I have publicly expressed regret.”

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