No, the Inflation Reduction Act Is Not Enough. Yes, We Still Need It.

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Climate change is a complex problem. There are no easy answers and often more questions. Holding complexity is part of the work we must do to realize a healthy and resilient future where all can thrive.

The Inflation Reduction Act puts forth the most ambitious climate action to ever pass US Congress. With significant investments in clean energy, transportation, and environmental justice, the IRA is projected to reduce emissions 40% by 2030. It’s historic. It’s exciting. It’s getting us closer to our climate goals. YES!

This legislation will have wide scale and lasting impacts for generations to come. Sadly, those impacts are not all positive or just. The Inflation Reduction Act is an example of the ways advocates and legislators neglect and exploit communities in the search for a win, instead of in search of justice. The IRA sacrifices communities already bearing the burden of climate change. NO!

The People Vs. Fossil Fuels Coalition calls out the IRA’s “poison pills” that will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, family farming, people of the global majority and working-class communities, including major handouts to Big Oil, like requiring new oil & gas leasing on 620 million acres of public lands and waters, and permitting for new oil & gas pipelines while supporting false solutions like carbon capture, nuclear, hydrogen, biofuels and carbon trading. NO!

So, while many are celebrating wholeheartedly, I’m conflicted. I’m melancholy. I’m torn. I wonder: is it really a win, if it’s not a win for all of us? NO!

Still, it also has historic investments in clean energy, transportation, environmental justice, and more that we desperately need. Plus, there are lots of other benefits like lowering Medicare prescription drug costs, extending the Affordable Care Act coverage for 13 million Americans, and instituting a 15% minimum tax on billion-dollar corporations. YES!

Like our friends at UUSJ say, the Inflation Reduction Act is a Mixed Bag.

Although the Inflation Reduction Act is the result of years of organizing from environmental justice organizations, climate organizations, and frontline communities, it muffles the concerns of people fighting on the front lines. Those in power continue to ignore, neglect, and actively harm those most impacted by climate change and the pollution that causes it. The IRA sacrifices frontline communities already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. This is not climate justice.

No, the Inflation Reduction Act is not enough. Yes, we still need it. Hold this complexity, then let’s get to work.

In solidarity,

Rachel Myslivy

Climate Organizer for Side with Love