The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in the Senate and House of Representatives and recently signed into law by President Biden, is the largest bill ever to address climate change, along with its provisions for healthcare and tax programs.
Five Princeton climate and energy experts weighed in on the significance of the bill and what it means for reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change:
- “For the first time ever, we have the full financial weight of the federal government at the backs of the clean energy transition,” said Jesse Jenkins, a Princeton engineer who models the impact of climate measures. “That’s game-changing.”
- Emily Carter, an engineer focused on clean energy and former dean of the engineering school, called the act “a fantastic down payment” toward a net-zero future, pointing to measures for cleaning up the country’s electricity supply and incentives for consumers to use electricity for heating, driving and cooking instead of less efficient fuels derived from coal, natural gas or oil.
- Chris Greig, a researcher and former industry executive, emphasized the importance of speed in the transition to a net-zero economy. He said the Inflation Reduction Act is a big achievement and acknowledged that it will encourage investment in a broad suite of technologies. But he’s not sure it goes far enough to stimulate the speed of transition that is necessary.
- Denise Mauzerall, a policy expert and engineer who has studied the pollution impact of different energy schemes, said the Inflation Reduction Act is a long-awaited and critical step in the U.S. effort to address climate change. The $370 billion investment will help launch an “unstoppable” transition to decarbonized energy, she said.
- “Nothing else Congress has done on climate change in the past comes close to its scope and potential,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist and influential policy advisor. “No U.S. environmental regime based only on positive financial incentives has ever been tried at this scale.”