The landmark climate bill passed by the Senate this week will do more harm than good to the environment and to climate change, some groups have warned.
The bill was passed in the Senate after months of wrangling and weakening by fossil-fuel-friendly Democrats. Now, frontline community groups are calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.
The bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), will be voted on in the House this week, and if passed, will be signed into law by Biden. It would mark the first significant climate legislation to be passed in the United States, which is historically responsible for more greenhouse emissions than any other country.
The IRA would allocate $369 billion to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable green energy sources. Scientists estimate this could help lead to net reductions of 40 percent by 2030.
But the bill makes a slew of concessions to the fossil fuel industry. This includes mandating drilling and pipeline deals that will harm communities across the nation and will tie the U.S. to global-warming-inducing energy projects for decades to come.
Many environmental groups and community groups agree that while the deal will finally bring some long-term global benefits by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the bill is not enough. They say the legislation consigns communities already threatened by sea level rise, floods, and extreme heat to even more unlivable realities.
The original bill was Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which was blocked by every single Republican, as well as Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. Both Manchin and Sinema have received enormous campaign support from fossil fuel industries.
“Once again, the only climate proposal on the table requires that the communities of the Gulf south bear the disproportionate cost of national interests bending a knee to dirty energy – furthering the debt this country owes to the South,” said Colette Pichon Battle from Taproot Earth Vision, formerly Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy.