Sprague: Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy, climate components are crucial


Because of its location and topography, Arizona has always been hot — but not this hot, with temperatures on recent nights never dipping below the 90s and record-setting days well above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the adverse effects of climate change are rearing their ugly heads in various forms across the United States, from the floods irrevocably changing lives in Kentucky to the wildfires threatening mighty sequoias in California, given our historically scorching temperatures, even a small uptick in global warming can make life here both dangerous and untenable. And while there may be political differences about how to stymie climate change, these severe weather disasters don’t care about human ideologies.

Now, after a breakthrough in seemingly intractable negotiations, a cool $370 billion could soon be coming to take the edge off the heat. The Inflation Reduction Act would be the largest U.S. investment ever in clean energy and climate solutions.

Arizona’s U.S. Senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, should vote yes on this important legislation, which is in line with nearly 25,000 petition signatures gathered by Environment Arizona from residents in the state supporting action on climate change.

Given that carbon dioxide (aka “greenhouse gas”) emissions are the primary driver of climate change, the money is allocated for policies designed to reduce those emissions by 40% nationally by 2030. Among its clean energy and climate components, the bill includes:

  • A $10 billion investment tax credit to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, such as facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels.
  • $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs to electrify home appliances and for energy-efficient retrofits and 10 years of consumer tax credits to make homes energy efficient and run on clean energy, making heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC and water heaters more affordable.
  • $3 billion for zero-emission technology at U.S. ports;
  • $3 billion for electric U.S. Postal Service trucks; $1 billion for electric heavy duty vehicles, such as school buses and garbage trucks; and up to a $7,500 tax credit for consumers to buy new electric vehicles and a $4,000 tax credit for consumers to buy used EVs.

While not everything in the bill is perfect, the clean energy tax credits in particular will inject a jolt of (renewable) energy into state and local efforts to reduce emissions and clean our air.

They will help make it affordable for Americans of all stripes to switch to electric vehicles, put solar panels on their roofs and purchase cleaner, healthier electric appliances that don’t pump pollution in our homes and communities.

As climate change inflames oppressive heat, deepens damaging droughts and sparks historic wildfires across the West, it’s time to act.

We need Sens. Sinema and Kelly to vote yes on the Inflation Reduction Act.

Arizona residents can’t afford any extra days of 115-degree heat.

About the author

Alec Sprague is with Environment Arizona, an organization that works to promote core environmental values, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean energy to power our lives. Visit environmentarizona.org.