The $369 billion plan to curb planet-warming pollution that President Joe Biden signed into law today doesn’t fundamentally reorder American society.
But the unprecedented legislative step to save the planet is a big deal, and it offers the clean energy sector a shot in the arm at a time when prices are soaring, production is stalling and natural disasters are raging.
If it works as promised, the sprawling law is expected to save Americans money in the short term and improve overall health outcomes in the long term. But what does it mean for the energy and transportation industries — the nation’s two largest sources of greenhouse gases?
Winners and losers
The measure is designed to supercharge clean energy projects by allocating billions of dollars to lower the cost of wind, solar and electric vehicles, making them more accessible to individuals and businesses.
That’s good news for renewable energy and EV-producing companies, consumers looking to go green and utilities with carbon-reduction goals. Researchers project that the bill will significantly cut retail electricity costs, saving ratepayers up to $220 annually.
While the oil and gas industry isn’t exactly embracing the bill, it doesn’t hate it either. The measure, which takes a carrot approach to reducing emissions, contains a number of “Easter eggs” for the sector, including access to new federal waters for development in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
The law’s hefty tax incentive for low-carbon technologies could slash U.S. heat-trapping emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by decade’s end. But according to modeling done by the Rhodium Group, reductions in transportation emissions are marginal compared with other sectors.
Transportation continues to be the nation’s leading source of carbon pollution with no abatement in sight.
Perhaps the law’s biggest losers are the rich. Corporations that make $1 billion a year or more will now have to pay a minimum tax rate of 15 percent as well as 1 percent on stock buybacks. That is projected to reduce the federal deficit by an estimated $300 billion over the next decade. The measure also cracks down on some tax loopholes employed by the wealthy.
Early analyses of the bill are positive, promising to deliver on Democrats’ vision. But the climate and financial benefits may take time to trickle through the economy.
Meanwhile, progressives are now gearing up to fight a fossil fuel permitting trade-off the party made to secure West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s crucial vote.
It’s Tuesday — thank you for tuning in to POLITICO’s Power Switch. I’m your host, Arianna Skibell. Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy. Send your tips, comments, questions to [email protected]
Today in POLITICO Energy’s podcast: Kelsey Tamborrino explains why progressives will fight the permitting reform deal Manchin struck to secure passage of Biden’s sprawling climate bill.
Provisions in the Democrats’ measure to reduce methane emissions from liquefied natural gas operations could be undercut by a series of exemptions in the bill, writes Benjamin Storrow.
The bill could allow LNG facilities to skirt a new fee on methane leaks. Read the story here.
Easy EV charging
Seattle is pioneering a new way to charge electric vehicles: a retracting, on-demand charging station that perches on a power pole, writes David Ferris.
While not without flaws, the pilot project is important because about 37 percent of all households do not have a garage. Read more here.
Brink of starvation
Russia’s war with Ukraine is threatening the already unstable global food supply, leaving millions of people facing starvation, writes Eddy Wax.
The war is exacerbating a crisis already fueled by climate change, soaring costs of living and a fertilizer price hike that is creating the most acute global food crisis in decades. Here’s the story.
Return of the nuclear option: Germany plans to postpone the closure of the country’s last three nuclear power plants as it braces for a possible shortage of energy this winter.
Who is to blame? A new poll finds Americans believe corporations, industry and the U.S. federal government have a greater responsibility to address climate change than individuals.
The science, policy and politics driving the energy transition can feel miles away. But we’re all affected on an individual and communal level — from hotter days and higher gas prices to home insurance rates and food supply.
Want to know more? Send me your questions and I’ll get you answers.
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Republican governors hate Biden’s climate package. But their states could reap major benefits from its investments in clean energy.
Billionaire Bill Gates’ startup called TerraPower LLC raised a record $750 million for advancing nuclear power.
A gas chain in Hawaii is suing its insurance carrier, saying it breached its contract by failing to defend it against climate change litigation.
That’s it for today, folks! Thanks for reading.