Climate Policy News You Can Use — July & August 2023
This summer’s record-shattering temperatures make abundantly clear why we need to act fast to cut climate pollution. Thankfully, there’s good news to keep us all motivated, and plenty of opportunities for further progress. Private-sector investment in clean energy is soaring, driven by the Inflation Reduction Act. And a new report from EDF finds that states with climate commitments can shrink the remaining emissions gap to the U.S. 2030 target by 43%, by enacting policies that cut GHG emissions at scale. Read our blog summary and full report.
Read on for opportunities to celebrate and defend the IRA, support the EPA’s power plant rule, and advance market-based climate policy in New York State, and for more good news at the end.
I. Happy Anniversary, Inflation Reduction Act!
One year in, the Inflation Reduction Act is having its intended effect of boosting private-sector investment in the energy transition. According to Climate Power’s Clean Energy Boom report, companies have announced or advanced clean energy projects totaling $278 billion in new investments between August 2022, and July 2023, creating over 170,000 new jobs in 44 states.
Don’t miss out! Here are the key incentives relevant to companies with net zero and other climategoals, with the latest information on guidance and rulemaking:
- Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit
- Clean Commercial Vehicle Tax Credit
- Clean Industrial Facilities Grants
- Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction
- Advanced Energy Project Credit. DOE has opened the first round for funding.
You can help make sure these provisions are fully funded by publicly communicating how the Inflation Reduction Act benefits your business.
➢ Take Action:
- Mark the IRA anniversary by highlighting how the law is benefiting your business and the communities in which you operate. Issue a statement, write an op-ed, talk to reporters and tweet your support.
- Let your members of Congress know why the IRA matters to your company and how youplan to take advantage of its incentives and investments.
- File comments by August 14th supporting the elective pay and transferability regulations. For more information, check out the IRS’s FAQs, fact sheets and this White House explainer.
➢ Go Deeper:
- Revisit EDF’s Understanding the Inflation Reduction Act Hub with its IRA Snapshot for Businesses and activation guides for Renewable Energy Procurement, Fleet Electrification, Climate-Smart Agriculture, Building Energy Efficiency, and Advanced Manufacturing.
- Explore RMI’s detailed breakdown of IRA incentives and IRATracker.org for the latest on implementation guidance.
- Check out invest.gov to see where businesses are making investments supported by the IRA, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act.
II. Congress: IRA programs in the crosshairs
The House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill that would slash EPA’s budget by 39% and rescind $9.4 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act. See EDF’s statement. The Republican bill, which falls outside the negotiated debt limit deal, also includes poison pill policy riders that would stall climate progress, block clean energy measures and threaten clean water. The Senate, by contrast, has advanced bipartisan negotiated bills (see EDF’s statement). However, even in the upper chamber, there have been attempts to undermine the IRA through policy amendments to the funding bills.
➢ Take Action:
- Use your influence in Congress to call for a common-sense and responsible appropriations process that leaves IRA provisions intact and fully funds the agencies involved in its implementation, especially EPA, DOE, and DOT.
III. EPA Power Plan Standards: Comments due by August 8th
Does your business use electricity? Do you want to reduce your energy-related emissions? Then support the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants. Cleaning up the power sector is crucial to achieve both enterprise-level and national climate targets, and has the added benefit of protecting public health. EPA estimates that the new standards will avoid more than 600 million metric tons of CO2 pollution, while preventing 1,300 premature deaths in 2030 alone. See EDF’s statement.
➢ Take Action:
- File comments with EPA by August 8th supporting the new power plant standards.
- Join the business sign-on letter that Ceres is spearheading to show support for the power plant rules. The deadline to sign on is Monday, August 7th.
➢ Go Deeper:
- Check out EPA’s rule summary, rule history and additional resources on the power plant standards.
- Read the Coal Cost Crossover 3.0 report from Energy Innovation.
- Read EIA’s analysis: Renewable generation surpassed coal and nuclear in the U.S. electric power sector in 2022.
IV. State Policy: Opportunity to Shape New York’s Cap-and-Invest Program
The Hochul Administration is advancing a cap-and-invest program to implement New York’s ClimateAct, which requires the state to cut emissions 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are soliciting input from stakeholders to inform the draft rule, expected later this year. This program is a critical step for NY to meet its statutory emissions targets and an opportunity to design a nation-leading policy that prioritizes affordability, equity and job creation. If successful, it will raise the bar nationally for economy-wide, market-based climate policies and be a model for other states.
➢ Take Action:
- File comments with DEC and NYSERDA this summer to support a program with maximum climate ambition and sign up for updates on future opportunities for input.
- Contact Kate Courtin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about how you can engage.
➢ Go Deeper:
- Read EDF’s blog: New York is poised to elevate its climate leadership with ambitious cap-and-invest program
- Review EDF’s recommendations to NY State agencies on the design of the cap-and-invest program.
- Read EDF’s report: Climate Leadership States Could Cut U.S. “Emissions Gap” in 2030 by Nearly Half, if Governors Deliver on Commitments
V. More good news: FERC addresses renewables backlog, progress on permitting and funding for MERP
Great news on the renewable energy front: FERC approved a “historic” rule to accelerate the approval of new energy generators and storage resources. (see EDF’s statement). Also last week, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule to modernize and streamline the process for developing new renewable energy projects (see EDF’s statement). Finally, EPA and DOE announced $350 million in funding to monitor and reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas sector (see EDF’s statement). This is the first in a series of funding opportunities established by the $1.55 billion Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP).
That’s all for this month!
Thanks as always for reading, and please reach out with any feedback or questions.