A historic bill that includes provisions for climate action and accessible healthcare for Americans was passed by the US Senate by Democrats.
The Inflation Reduction Act 2022 (IRA) passed with a final vote of 51 to 50. The law was opposed by every Republican in Congress, resulting in a deadlock that was ended by Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote.
The Environmental Protection Agency should only have limited authority to restrict emissions across US states, the Supreme Court ruled.
President Biden ratified the bill. $369 billion of the amount will go primarily toward decreasing emissions and funding national investments in renewable energy technologies.
According to independent research firm Rhodium Group, the measure may reduce US emissions by 31 to 44 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. By the same year, Biden has already committed to cutting the nation’s overall greenhouse gas emissions in half.
Brian Schatz, a senator for the Democratic Party, tweeted on the importance of the US climate bill. “We passed the biggest climate bill that any country has ever passed,” he stated.
By 2030, IRA is predicted to have cut US emissions by one billion tonnes. This is more than twice as many emissions as the UK produces annually.
Distribution of funds
The US is the country that produces the most carbon emissions worldwide. There is a ton of room to lessen its influence.
In order to address the climate problem, the IRA will set aside $369 billion through various investments and tax incentives. These include direct tax benefits provided to individuals interested in purchasing an electric vehicle.
A sizable amount of the IRA will be used to establish a $27 billion “green bank” to finance the development of sustainable energy projects. Infrastructure for decreasing emissions, such as a network of home rooftop solar panels, is also anticipated.
The IRA is rumored to be investing billions in the development of industrial facilities devoted to the production of clean energy cars in addition to promoting the reduction of reliance on fossil fuels for energy. Although specifics have not yet been verified.
What about the animals?
Although the IRA calls for investments in “greener agricultural practices,” less than 5% will go into enhancing the current agriculture system. Currently, it is highly dependent on animal agriculture, which has been completely excluded from debates.
However, experts have opposed the decision, arguing that the initiatives might not even slightly improve the climate situation. The majority of the agricultural funds will be allocated to farmers to engage in activities that the United States Department of Agriculture deems “climate-smart.”
It is advised to take steps to enhance soil quality, lessen water pollution, and operate in a way that safeguards local plant and pollinator species. These, however, have not been found to be efficient approaches to lower the carbon contributions of the agricultural sector.
The only way to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to academics and climate scientists, is to reduce production of meat and dairy products. After taking the oath of office, Biden reiterated his commitment to the agreement. Donald Trump, his predecessor, severed connections with the accord.
It is estimated that animal agriculture accounts for at least 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The US produces more meat than any other country worldwide.
Meat in the US
Despite significantly emphasizing environmental awareness in his election campaign, President Biden promised to invest $1 billion to support the domestic beef sector earlier this year. This occurred at a time when consumer prices were rising and agricultural profitability were declining.
As part of the nation’s commitment to the Global Methane Pledge, the IRA will contribute $1.5 billion to the effort to prevent methane leaks that are hazardous to the environment and are caused by the production of natural gas. But it ignores the significant methane emissions linked to the production of meat.
Methane is a big issue since it is 28 times more potent than carbon at warming the globe. Up to 220 pounds of the gas can be produced annually by a single cow. Approximately 30.1 million animals are now being raised in the US for meat.
Many times, the Biden administration has been urged to stop factory farming and transition to a plant-based diet. It hasn’t stepped up to the plate thus far.
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