By Larry Kramer
While it is important that individuals take climate change into their decisions, acts by individuals alone will not be enough. It will take governmental action at all levels—from city, county, state, and federal—to make the right decisions. And since climate change is global, other countries must also act.
Our own federal government has been slow to act but has passed some legislation moving us in the right direction. Despite what is reported as little bipartisan action, some significant bipartisan legislation has been signed into law, including the following:
- The Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act helps develop carbon capture and storage infrastructure as a way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions while creating regional economic opportunities and jobs.
- The Using Significant Emissions and Innovative Technologies (USE It) Act will boost carbon capture and direct air capture technologies.
- The Better Energy Storage and Technology (BEST) Act will provide research and development for grid-scale energy storage systems and authorize at least five demonstration projects for new energy storage technologies.
- The Climate-Ready Fisheries Act will require a report to be prepared about efforts to adapt our nation’s fisheries to the impact of climate change.
- The RECLAIM Act will help distressed coal communities by fast-tracking $1 billion in funding to clean up abandoned coal mines, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
In addition, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contains many features beneficial to the climate:
a. Truck stop electrification, trail facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, street lighting, electric vehicle charging and port electrification.
b. Low or zero-emission bus grants.
c. Projects to process battery materials.
d. Manufacturing and recycling and reuse of batteries.
e. Mapping and location of critical mineral resources.
f. Projects to support carbon capture from the atmosphere and from coal- and gas-fired operations.
g. Hydrogen fuel production.
h. Credits for operating nuclear power facilities.
i. States to conduct energy audits and energy upgrades.
j. Grants to schools to make improvements that reduce energy costs.
k. Advanced nuclear reactor demonstrations.
l. Increase domestic production of critical minerals.
m. Grants to increase electric grid resiliency.
n. Purchase of low-emission ferries.
Again, while individual action is important, it will take government action both in the United States and worldwide to minimize the worst effects of climate change.
Please note that all the legislation discussed above was done with bipartisan support of both Republicans and Democrats. This legislation is good for the economy. This legislation will all result in the creation of more good-paying jobs in the United States.
Larry Kramer is a former submarine Captain & San Juan Capistrano Mayor. He is the co-leader of the local chapter of Citizen’ Climate Education.
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