• Tue. Nov 28th, 2023

    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    Reimagining America’s Bold Path to a Green Future

    ByThemba Hadebe

    Nov 20, 2023
    Reimagining America’s Bold Path to a Green Future

    In his quest for progress and political gain, President Joe Biden’s groundbreaking climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, has faced numerous challenges. A year after its enactment, the ambitious plan strives to accelerate the United States’ shift towards clean energy, bolster its industrial prowess, and foster social justice. However, its name has been a point of contention, as it does not directly address inflation but rather focuses on cultivating alternative solutions that drive economic growth.

    During a recent gathering with donors in Utah, President Biden expressed regret over the choice of name, recognizing that the legislation’s essence lies in offering alternatives and propelling economic expansion through approximately $350 billion in subsidies and tax credits. The President admitted that if given the opportunity, he would have chosen a different name that better reflects the underlying goals of the act.

    Highlighting the IRA’s potential, President Biden inaugurated a sustainable energy project in New Mexico, which serves as a powerful symbol of the legislation’s objectives. This project involves the construction of wind turbines on a site previously occupied by a factory that produced plastic dishes. Located in a state severely affected by climate change-induced wildfires and extreme temperatures, the initiative showcases the IRA’s commitment to combatting the detrimental effects of environmental deterioration.

    The White House asserts that the IRA has already stimulated $110 billion in private investments within the clean energy sector, thereby garnering attention, and even concern, from allies and observers abroad due to its mission of achieving industrial independence. Lori Bird from the World Resources Institute, an environmental organization, hails the legislation as the most momentous climate and clean energy legislation in US history. She emphasizes that the incentives provided by the IRA are designed to have a lasting impact, persisting far beyond its initial decade.

    According to a study conducted by nine teams of American researchers, the IRA is projected to reduce US emissions by approximately 43 to 48 percent by 2035, relative to 2005 levels. While this falls short of the official target to halve emissions by 2030, many activists argue that achieving this goal necessitates not only financial incentives but also stringent regulations. Nevertheless, the implementation of such regulations could face significant hurdles, particularly if they encounter opposition and legal challenges from the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

    Presently, President Biden’s primary focus is capitalizing on what he refers to as “Bidenomics” before the crucial November 2024 presidential elections. This term encompasses the vigor of the US economy and the promising future that lies ahead, with the IRA serving as a foundation alongside major investments in technology and infrastructure.

    Awareness of the various promises brought about by these programs remains limited among the general American populace. From facilitating advancements in quantum computing to job creation through the mass production of electric vehicles, to the lower cost of insulin and expanded internet access, the transformative changes initiated by President Biden demand time to manifest and truly resonate with the public.

    However, the Republican Party has been swift in its criticism, dismissing the Inflation Reduction Act as a “scam” in a recent statement. Nonetheless, President Biden has taken pleasure in highlighting the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who continue to accept IRA funding for projects in their own districts, despite publicly opposing the legislation. Notably, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, has been called out by President Biden for actively opposing the IRA while simultaneously benefiting from its funding for a wind-turbine factory in her Colorado district.

    Moving forward, America’s bold path to a greener future remains. President Biden’s ambitious legislation, though facing obstacles, promises to reshape the nation’s energy landscape, revitalize its industries, and champion social equity. As the transformative effects of the IRA gradually unfold, the true impact of this visionary legislation will become undeniably evident.


    What is the Inflation Reduction Act?

    The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a comprehensive climate legislation spearheaded by President Joe Biden. It aims to accelerate the United States’ transition to clean energy, promote industrial growth, and advance social justice.

    How has the IRA been received?

    The legislation has sparked significant interest and concern, both domestically and internationally. It has attracted private investments of approximately $110 billion in the clean energy sector and has been hailed as the most impactful climate and clean energy legislation in US history.

    What are the objectives of the IRA?

    The IRA seeks to reduce US emissions by 43 to 48 percent by 2035, compared to 2005 levels. While falling short of the official goal of halving emissions by 2030, the IRA’s focus extends beyond financial incentives and emphasizes the necessity of regulatory measures for achieving long-term sustainability.

    How is President Biden approaching the IRA?

    President Biden views the IRA as a cornerstone of his economic agenda, commonly referred to as “Bidenomics.” He aims to leverage the legislation’s potential while bolstering investments in technology and infrastructure to secure a prosperous and sustainable future for the United States.

    What challenges does the IRA face?

    The IRA faces opposition from Republican lawmakers who denounce it as a “scam.” Additionally, the implementation of stringent regulations could encounter obstacles if they are subjected to legal challenges in the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

    (Source: [Original Article](https://www.afp.com/en/news/3970/biden-fights-political-gain-year-after-ambitious-climate-law-doc-l7v12v2))