Starting next week, the United States will take a historic step toward beginning what we hope will be an irreversible path to a truly green economy, thanks to the approval of the most ambitious investments in clean and affordable energy, and aggressive actions against climate change.
Although it was baptized as ´The Inflation Reduction Law´, more for political reasons than for its real impact on the economy, the new legislation opens the door to a sustainable future: cleaner water and air, better access to public health and communities more resilient to weather events, especially communities of color, such as Latinos and blacks, who are the most vulnerable to climate injustices.
Does that mean that it is perfect legislation and a solution to all environmental problems? No. In the words of Bernie Sanders: The fossil fuel industry will receive billions of dollars in new tax breaks and subsidies over the next 10 years.
It is certainly worrying, as Bernie points out, to lay the groundwork for a healthy and habitable planet by taxing the very fossil fuel companies responsible for global warming. For example, the law will put up to 60 million acres of public waters up for sale each year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government can approve any new offshore wind development.
But remembering that ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good’, the vast majority of environmental organizations agree that the new legislation is a step in the right direction. The Democrats must have known better than anyone. On the issue of migration, politicians who only support a comprehensive immigration reform or nothing, have empty hands today.
In the case of the law, as Lori Lodes, CEO of Climate Power, points out, the legislation makes extensive investments in America’s manufacturing industry, creating countless jobs to build the next generation of clean power plants, cars and buildings.
Another milestone: $64 billion was passed to extend the life of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama Care, through 2025, and nearly $300 billion can be saved by allowing the Medicare program to renegotiate drug prices with the big pharmaceutical companies for the first time.
Although we can all appreciate the shortcomings of the new law, the sum of gradual and progressive advances take the country in the right direction. And many of our communities most affected by weather events–permanent fires, floods, polluted air and dirty water–simply can’t wait for a perfect law.