Breakthrough: Historic climate bill passes Senate

Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV.

Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV.

Zach Bright.

Inflation Reduction Act to cut emissions by 40% by 2030

As record-breaking heat waves and flooding continue to plague communities across the U.S., lawmakers just took a major step forward to confront the climate crisis that is sparking and intensifying those disasters. 

On Aug. 7, the Senate passed the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” a budget deal that invests close to $370 billion in renewable energy, environmental justice programs, old-growth forest protections and other measures. According to outside analysis, the bill will reduce U.S. climate emissions by at least 40 percent over the next eight years. 

The news caps a year-and-a-half-long saga in which the legislative vehicle carrying these climate solutions changed shapes, switched names, ran into lots of political intrigue and came back from the dead more than once. It could not have made it to the finish line without the impassioned voices of people like our members and supporters—thank you! 

“Today is a huge day. With climate alarm bells blaring across the country, we are both celebrating and sighing in relief at the Senate passage of the largest climate and environmental justice investment in U.S. history,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, in a statement on the bill’s passage

Bill a compromise, and further work awaits us

As we’ve mentioned, this bill is a compromise, and it has a number of weaknesses. Some of the toughest sacrifices come at the expense of public lands and waters and the communities that depend on them. 

The Inflation Reduction Act fails to restore protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas leasing. It also shackles investments in renewable energy on public lands to mandates that lock in more leasing for oil and gas.  

We will work harder than ever with Indigenous leaders and community partners to rectify these failures and make public lands a bigger part of the climate solution. Our members and supporters will be a crucial part of that work, too. 

But right now, we are celebrating a hard-fought and badly needed victory. Please take a moment to thank senators who voted for the Inflation Reduction Act and supported strong investments in climate solutions!