Democrats’ climate deal puts US emissions targets within reach, 3 separate studies find

The potential climate and economic benefits of the surprise reconciliation package Democrats unveiled last week are starting to show more clearly.

Researchers crunched the numbers to predict how the more than 100 climate provisions of the $369 billion deal, called the Cut Inflation Act, would impact carbon emissions, jobs, prices electricity and more.

The results gave climate advocates, Democratic lawmakers and majority of American voters who support the bill a lot to celebrate.

Three independent research organizations — the Rhodium Group, Energy innovation and the REPEAT project — found that the bill, if passed, could reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 40 percent or more below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

Those estimates came just weeks ago when Rhodium released a report warning that the United States was far from meeting its emissions reduction goals. This analysis found that without additional policy action, the United States would reduce global warming emissions by 24% to 35% by 2030 — well below Biden’s 50% to 52% goal.

Talks appeared to have collapsed for the third and final time last month between the White House and Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) over a historic package of clean energy spending in Congress’s reconciliation bill , a budget bill that Democrats can pass without a single Republican vote. Given the Senate’s 50-50 split, that would require the vote of every Democrat — giving Manchin, a frequent critic of Biden’s agenda and chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, unparalleled leverage over the negotiation.

If Congress passes the snap deal it finally unveiled last week, “this package, additional actions by executive agencies and subnational actors can bring the U.S. goal of halving carbon emissions within reach.” by 2030,” according to Rhodium’s analysis.

Union electricians install solar panels above the LaGuardia Airport Terminal B garage in November 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The bill’s climate investments are also expected to jump-start clean energy jobs, reduce electricity bills and improve public health.

This could ultimately lead to the creation of more than 9 million jobs over the next decade, according to a new analysis commissioned by BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental organizations, and conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute ( PERI) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. This includes nearly 6 million jobs in clean energy deployment and manufacturing, 600,000 focused on protecting forests and other natural resources, and 150,000 on pollution control in low-income communities and BIPOC.

The Energy Innovation report found that the IRA would create nearly 1.5 million jobs, mostly in manufacturing and construction, and prevent up to 3,900 premature deaths, around 100,000 asthma attacks and up to to 417,000 lost working days avoided by 2030.

As for the amount the average American household expects to save on future energy bills, Resources for the Future estimates it could be between $170 and $220 a year over the next decade. This would translate to up to $278 billion in total savings for consumers nationwide.

Moody’s Analytics pegged the potential savings at more than $300 per year for the average household.

Biden touted the package’s potential job opportunities, health benefits and energy savings during a Thursday roundtable with business and labor leaders.

“The vast majority of people in America support what’s in the Cut Inflation Act,” Biden said. “So my message to Congress is: Listen to the American people. This is the strongest bill you can pass to reduce inflation, continue to reduce the deficit, reduce health care costs, fight the climate crisis and promote America’s energy security, all reducing the burdens on working and middle class families. Pass it.”

A poll this week by environmental group Climate Power and think tank Data for Progress found that 73% of all likely voters, including 95% Democrats and 52% Republicans, support the reconciliation package.

Alexander Kaufman contributed to this report.

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