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Inflation Reduction Act is law now, but climate future still uncertain

Although President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, many are hoping he will declare a climate emergency to provide further funding. It would allow for additional provisions to fight the effects of climate change and reduce fossil-fuel usage in the U.S.

New York State has been seeing the effects of climate change firsthand since 45 counties, or three quarters of the state, are currently under a drought watch. Although this is the mildest of the four drought advisories, there are concerns climate change might only exacerbate future drought conditions in the state.

Dominic Frongillo, executive director of Elected Officials to Protect America, believes declaring a climate emergency is a major necessity.

“What declaring a climate emergency will allow President Biden to do is to halt crude exports for crude oil, stop offshore oil and gas drilling, restrict international investment in fossil fuels, and to be able to accelerate the manufacturing and the homegrown jobs here in the United States in an investment to ramp up renewable-energy production,” Frongillo outlined.

Currently, 1,000 elected officials across the U.S. have signed a letter urging a climate emergency be declared. A bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021, asking President Biden to declare a climate emergency, but has been languishing in committee.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

While the Inflation Reduction Act is one of the largest investments in fighting climate change, Frongillo feels the shortfalls cancel out the benefits. One instance he cited is how investment in fossil fuels can continue despite moving to renewable energy. He sees the bill as a great success but believes it helps oil and gas companies too much.

“By opening up public lands for leasing, and because the fossil-fuel industry is primarily responsible for the climate crisis, is driving the climate crisis; we need a clear and strong plan to get America off fossil fuels, to lead the world in phasing out fossil fuels,” Frongillo urged.

Frongillo is optimistic about the new law being a catalyst for a bigger leap to renewable resources. However, without Biden declaring a climate emergency, he feels the U.S. might not reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50%.