USA Poised to Reclaim Leadership Role in Climate Change Debate as House of Representatives Votes on Inflation Reduction Act This Friday

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Solar cells Mountains
Solar panels providing renewable energy, picture: Protect our Winters (‘POW’)

On August 7 the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed the Upper Chamber of the US Congress. The House of Representatives will vote on this act on Friday the 12th. The IRA is a compromise on the previously proposed Build Back Better Act (BBBA).

In a nutshell, the IRA aims to raise $739 billion of which roughly half ($369 billion) will be spent on climate change-related matters. The remainder will go towards deficit reduction, Affordable Care Act subsidies, pharmaceutical, and tax reforms.

While there is a lot packaged into the act, we at SnowBrains of course wonder what the IRA specifically means for the Ski Industry. How much will the proposed climate spending affect the CO2 emissions in America? Will this be enough to protect our winters?


POW IRA spend
Infographic by POW on where the Funds will be spent, source: Protect Our Winters POW

The guys at Protect our Winters (POW) certainly think that the IRA will bring about a much-needed impact on CO2 emissions until 2030 and help ensure future generations get to enjoy snowsports. The team behind POW has been advocating and campaigning for these changes for over a year.

The target of the IRA is to reduce US emissions by 50% and bring it below 2005 levels. The experts at Rhodium Group certainly believe that the IRA will help accelerate this target but estimate it will probably not quite get to a 50% reduction, but rather a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions USA
Projections of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Rhodium Group

More importantly, the IRA will put the US in a much stronger position in international climate negotiations which had been weakened ever since the US pushed for and then failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It will catapult the world’s largest economy back into a leadership role and enable them to put pressure on other economies to introduce or comply with emission targets. The US currently has the second highest CO2 emission after China, but double that of China on a per capita base, which has made international negotiations difficult. If we don’t start with ourselves, how can we demand much-needed changes from China or third-world countries?

CO2 emissions have rebounded in 2021 to pre-covid levels and action is needed to cut 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon each year from the atmosphere to achieve net zero emissions targeted for 2050. Let’s hope that the US’ leadership by example will pressure other nations into amending their emissions targets at the Climate Conference in Egypt in November 2022. After the weather-record-breaking period the world has seen this year, the matter is more pressing than ever.

2021 Carbon Budget
Infographic by the Global Carbon Project (GCP)

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