Climate Policy News You Can Use — September 2023
We’re back! Hope your September is off to a good start, and that you got to enjoy some R&R this summer. A highlight for me was hiking in Maine and New Hampshire: I’m now resolved to spend more of my life on top of mountains. The perspective one gains and the beauty one sees at that altitude are an endless source of inspiration and motivation, especially when confronting big challenges like climate change.
That mountain energy boost came just in time to kick off a busy fall, starting with Climate Week. I hope to see many of you there! Here’s where to find me and my EDF+Business colleagues in New York City next week. Please check the link regularly as we’re updating details in real time.
I. IRA Anniversary Recap
In August, we celebrated the first anniversary of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. See the White House’s statement and compiled quotes from elected officials, industry groups, businesses and other organizations. According to Climate Power’s Clean Energy Boom report, the law has driven $278 billion in clean energy investments, creating over 170,000 new jobs in 44 states. And the news gets better: according to a new report from the EPA, the IRA will drive significant emissions reductions in the electricity sector and across the economy by 2030. Read the EPA press release.
Here’s a roundup of recent reports and media coverage on the IRA and its impact on the economy:
- WRI’s webinar with White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi
- Investing in America, a Department of Energy study of the impact of IRA and BIL
- American Clean Power’s Clean Energy Investing in America report
- E2’s Clean Economy Works study of a year of progress under the IRA
- Analysis and opinion in MIT Technology Review, The Hill, Time Magazine and Wall Street Journal
II. Congress: Shutdown threat looms, impacting Federal programs including IRA, Farm Bill
Congress is now back in session and must pass an appropriations bill or continuing resolution by September 30th to keep the government open. No agreement is currently in sight, and the two chambers are as far apart as they were in July (see EDF’s statements on the House and Senate bills). Failure to reach agreement would lead to a government shutdown, whose many negative consequences include jeopardizing critical Federal programs including the Inflation Reduction Act.
Meanwhile, the Farm Bill is still being negotiated and neither the House nor the Senate has released a draft bill. Support from businesses in the food and agriculture sector is critical to preserve conservation programs including those expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act. Key funding programs include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program and Rural Energy for America Program.
➢ Take Action:
- Urge your members of Congress to do the responsible thing and keep the government open.
- Let your members of Congress know the importance of the IRA to your business and the need to ensure full funding of its provisions and implementing agencies.
- Ask your members of Congress to maintain funding levels for conservation programs in the Farm Bill.
➢ Go Deeper:
- Check out EDF’s Farm Bill Pages and blog: Three priorities for a climate-smart Farm Bill.
- Check out EDF and Deloitte’s IRA Activation Guide for Climate-Smart Agriculture.
III. Methane: opportunity to support robust reporting
On July 31, EPA published proposed updates to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, an essential mechanism to implement the IRA’s Methane Emission Reduction Program. The updates are critical to ensure that reported emissions – and the associated waste charges – are based on empirical data and accurately reflect total methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. EDF is here to support companies in commenting on the updates by the October 2nd deadline; contact Sean Hackett at email@example.com.
➢ Take Action:
- File comments by October 2nd expressing strong support for EPA’s proposed updates to methane reporting requirements. Urge the agency to improve on its proposal by integrating top-down, basin-level data; building in appropriate statistical analysis to accurately assess pollution at the facility and basin levels; and establishing guardrails to ensure companies report data accurately.
➢ Go Deeper:
- Read EDF’s press release: EPA’s Methane Reporting Proposal Highlights Critical Importance of Empirical and Accurate Data
- Read EDF’s statement on federal grant funding through MERP to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas sector: EPA and DOE Roll Out $350M to Cut Methane Pollution
IV. RGGI needs your support and input
Calling all businesses with operations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic! The Regional GreenhouseGas Initiative (RGGI) is currently conducting its third program review. Now is the time to contact state and regional leaders to express support for the program and provide input on its design and implementation.
➢ Take Action:
- Join a webinar on Thursday September 14th at 2pm ET with experts from EDF, Ceres, and NRDC to learn more about RGGI and how you can get involved. Register here.
- Convey your support for strengthening RGGI by signing this letter that Ceres is spearheading to the region’s governors by Friday, September 22nd.
As always, I welcome your feedback and thank you for reading.