News | August 12, 2022

Congress passes historic climate legislation

Special message from SELC's Director of Federal Affairs, Nat Mund
The U.S. Capitol Building.
Portrait of Nat Mund smiling in a gray suit with a blue floral patterned tie.
Nat Mund, SELC Director of Federal Affairs

Today the U.S passed the most ambitious climate legislation in our country’s history. It aims to lower our nation’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and offers us a chance to start on a new path towards climate solutions.

The passing of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides immediate action to combat climate change including:

  • Clean energy tax credits, making it cheaper than ever to deploy wind and solar power generation
  • Electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure, including tax credits for both new and used vehicle purchases
  • Environmental justice policy, like expanded funding for clean energy in lower wealth communities and to address transportation inequities
  • Ending the freeze on offshore wind leasing in the Southeast, opening our region up to new wind power.

This means more solar panels, wind turbines, and electric car infrastructure in the South, moving our region away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, more equitable energy future.

This bold action could not be more timely as the South faces crushing heat waves, devastating floods, and as other alarming indicators of climate change are becoming increasingly evident in our region and across the globe. I am heartened that Congress and the current administration are meeting the moment and starting to respond to the climate crisis with the urgency it warrants.

The resulting compromise is not without its problems, but overall it is a promising and necessary step forward and we will continue to fight any troublesome aspects that come out of this.

Today’s actions remind us that we have the available tools to fund and support solutions targeting climate change, helping the lives of all Southerners now and for future generations. These investments in American innovation to address climate change ultimately lead us toward a stronger economy as well.

Once this legislation is turned into law, we must turn our focus to tracking how this bill moves from policy to practice, cutting carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency commitments, and advancing more clean energy solutions. The Southern Environmental Law Center will be there every step of the way to make sure today’s actions result in the most benefits possible for the South.

But for now, we celebrate the best news we’ve had for our climate in a long time, and something we will build on in coming days.

SELC has been working for more than 35 years to confront climage change.