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Federal bill hailed as largest spending measure to combat climate change passes Senate

climate change environment houston
David J. Phillip/AP
FILE - A refinery along the Houston Ship Channel is seen with downtown Houston in the background on April 30, 2020. Billions of dollars in climate and environment investments from the Inflation Reduction Act could flow to communities in the United States that have been plagued by pollution and climate threats for decades. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The U.S. Senate has successfully pushed through the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a massive climate spending package.

In addition to tackling health care costs and tax codes, the budget bill earmarks billions of dollars to develop clean energy infrastructure.

It also puts aside money to protect forests and other natural lands, which can store large amounts of carbon.

Leah Laramee, the coordinator for the state’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, says federal leadership in the fight against climate change can’t come soon enough.

"One of the realities is that we're going to be seeing these changes happening even more quickly if we don't take action right now," Laramee said.

"The burden really shouldn't be falling to the individual. It really should be led by the federal, international, and state and county governments. There's a lot of burden already put on people here in Hawaiʻi, the high cost of living. So it's really up to our political leadership to take that lead," she told HPR.

The Biden administration has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% of 2005 levels by the end of this decade.

“It will be the most important investment, not hyperbole, the most important investment we’ve ever made in our energy security. And developing cost savings and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future. It’s a big deal," President Joe Biden said.

The Inflation Reduction Act will proceed to the U.S. House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 8, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Savannah Harriman-Pote is a producer for The Conversation and Manu Minute. Contact her at
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