Democrats compromise on climate goals to pass Inflation Reduction Act
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 220 to 207 Friday, passing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) along partisan lines. The bill, which passed the Senate on Sunday now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The climate change portion of the legislation has drawn mixed reactions from environmental groups and communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis. The Inflation Reduction Act will reduce U.S. emissions 40% from 2005 levels by 2030, according to an Energy Innovation report. While the bill has been praised as the most significant investment ever made to transition the U.S. electrical grid from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, the bill has also been criticized for not going far enough and for also potentially fast-tracking additional fossil fuel infrastructure such as drilling on federal land and water, pipelines and oil and gas export terminals.
“The bill would require the Interior Department to offer at least 2 million acres of public lands and 60 million acres of offshore waters for oil and gas leasing each year for a decade as a prerequisite to installing any new solar or wind energy. If the department failed to offer these minimum amounts for leasing, no right of ways could be granted for any utility-scale renewable energy project on public lands or waters,” said the Center for Biological Diversity in a press release. More than 350 conservation and community groups signed a letter urging Democrats to drop this requirement, but they were ignored.
Heatwave sweeps globe as politicians backslide on climate pledges
In July in the United States, 28 states issued Heat Advisories or Excessive Heat Warnings, according to the National Weather Service. In the past months, 359 high-temperature records have been set or tied in the United States, and more than 700 records for the highest overnight low temperatures were set or tied, according to a report in Axios citing data from NOAA. In the past 30 days, those numbers are more than 1,400 and 2,800, respectively.
The ongoing heatwave illustrates how interconnected the global climate truly is, as it worsens drought in the United States, shuts down reactors in Europe, melts glaciers in Asia, and causes famine in Africa. Additionally, in Greenland, satellite imagery shows ice sheets melting at a rapid rate, as temperatures have been in the 60s, according to the Independent. The heat reportedly melted nearly six billion tonnes of ice in only three days, scientists said.
Murders of Bruno Pereira, Dom Phillips spotlight Amazon deforestation ahead of Brazil election
On June 5, 2022, Indigenous rights advocate Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips ventured to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and never were seen again.
The murders of Pereira and Phillips have brought renewed attention to the fight to defend the Amazon rainforest from profiteering interests of corporate agriculture, mining, and oil and gas, in addition to smaller-scale illegal fishing and hunting. While Brazilian authorities have painted the murders as a somewhat random act of violence, local Indigenous groups are claiming the victims were targeted by organized crime because of their work defending the Amazon.
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