Anderson Herald Bulletin. October 19, 2022.
Editorial: Greenhouse gas reduction requires individual action
The recent passage by Congress of the Inflation Reduction Act has been touted as the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history.
Perhaps it is, following the executive order by President Richard Nixon in creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the influential Clean Water Act.
The IRA is premised in part on President Biden’s goal to achieve a 50% to 52% reduction in greenhouse gases, below 2005 levels, by the year 2030.
To that end, the IRA certainly has deeper reach into state and local governments in seeking grants as well as congressional recognition in advancing environmental justice for Americans regardless of race and income, among other concerns.
A recent panel hosted by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute looked at IRA’s effect on the Hoosier state. Tax credits are among the biggest benefits, said Dan Esposito, senior policy analyst for Energy Innovation.
Nationally, there are $271 billion in tax credits for the electricity sector, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, low carbon fuels and manufacturing.
In one example, commercial building owners can receive a tax credit up to $5 per square foot to support energy efficiency improvements that deliver lower utility bills.
Indiana’s small businesses can also seek tax credits covering 30% of the costs of installing low-cost solar power and of purchasing clean trucks and vans for commercial fleets.
San Francisco-based Energy Innovation looks at the effectiveness of energy policies. Without IRA, the U.S. could have lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. With implementation of IRA, the figure increases to be between 37% to 43%, according to Esposito.
While the IRA moves America closer to Biden’s goal — which should be a goal for all compromising-seeking Americans — much work needs to be done to reach 50%.
This requires federal and state action to close the gap.
So far, the state of Indiana has submitted a plan to install electric vehicle charging stations along highways.
The plan is not perfect. For example, sites are not set currently in Madison County.
Hoosiers can easily keep the greenhouse gas emission objectives in sight. They can also follow developments in electric vehicles (for example, Chevrolet’s Equinox EV hits dealerships next September).
Tax credits are likely to extend to Hoosier homeowners who can seek 30% of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy leakage or upgrade heating and cooling equipment.
Biden’s administration projects that over 90,000 additional Indiana households will install rooftop solar panels as a result.
The Inflation Reduction Act may be Congress’ most wide-ranging acknowledgment of our climate dilemma.
But state and local governments must accept programs to reduce greenhouse gases in tandem with Hoosiers finding individual ways to achieve the goal.
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