Speed Reads

climate change

Why climate advocates are happy with Biden's spending framework

The White House unveiled the Biden administration's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better framework on Thursday, laying out the legislation's plans for affordable housing, child tax credits, and many other investments. While proponents of paid family leave were certainly disappointed the measure was nixed from the proposal, those keeping tabs on the framework's efforts to combat climate change were much happier.

The bill is allocating $555 billion for climate-related projects and clean energy initiatives. The breakdown, according to CNN climate reporter Ella Nilsen, shakes out to $320 billion toward clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits, $105 billion to build up climate resilience, $110 billion for clean energy technology and supply chains, and $20 billion toward procurement of clean energy. One of the elements that's particularly exciting for climate advocates, Nilsen reports, is the electric vehicle rebate. Drivers can get up to $12,500 in EV tax rebates if their vehicle is U.S.-made, a "hefty" enough chunk of money that consumers "are definitely going to notice," writes clean energy reporter David Roberts.

One major reason the climate allocations would be a big win for the White House is that the $555 billion will put the U.S. on track to meet its 50-52 percent emissions reduction goal by 2030. According to Princeton University's Jesse Jenkins' analysis, "it's very likely that the Build Back Better Framework deal announced by [President Biden] today will deliver the necessary emissions reductions to put the U.S. right on track for (or at least well within reach of) Biden's 2030 climate pledge to reach 50% below 2005 emissions." Jenkins agreed with the White House's evaluation that the BBB framework would be "the largest effort to combat climate change in American history."

Of course, the bill has to actually make it through Congress before Biden can really pat himself on the back. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose deep ties to the coal industry have faced scrutiny as negotiations continue, has pushed Democrats to further slim the bill's climate provisions. Perhaps overly-optimistically, Biden said Thursday that "everybody" is on board with the latest framework.