Effects of the 2022 Midterm Election on the U.S. Climate Agenda

December 12, 2022
By CSE

With the dire effects of climate change becoming ever more present and severe, it is becoming increasingly vital for countries with agency, alongside a history of excessive pollution, to take action against it. The U.S.’s actions are becoming progressively more important, with a lot riding on the 2022 midterm elections. Unquestionably, the results do not overturn, but likely hinder the U.S.’s climate agenda.

 

IRA

Climate change remains a polarized issue in American politics. This becoming more apparent with the fact that no Congressional Republicans voted for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). President Biden’s IRA includes $370 billion in climate-related legislation. It is the most ambitious piece of climate legislation that the U.S. has seen, with a multitude of green tax credits and sustainability incentives. It made the target of cutting GHG emissions 50% by 2030 a reality. Democrats clung to a slim majority in the Senate, leaving Republicans with insufficient votes to overturn the IRA. However, implementation of the IRA to be slowed down is expected. It also means that the U.S. is looking at closer to a 40% GHG emission reduction, rather than 50% by 2030.

 

Loss & Damage

Yet another one of President Biden’s goals that will likely go unmet was to deliver substantial monetary climate reparations to poorer countries bearing the brunt of the worst climate change impacts. The COP27 is happening simultaneously. Being that the main topic of climate negotiations is loss and damage, reparations are being felt immediately, This also diminishes the U.S.’s reputability to deliver on its promises.

 

Energy

There is hope that midterm election results will not hinder the implementation of green energy. However this may come at a cost to the climate. Members of both parties have discussed a bill that streamlines implementation for all forms of energy: both oil pipelines and lines to carry wind and solar electricity. Yet, this will likely be a divided issue for the Democratic party.

 

Indeed the midterm elections leave a lot to be seen. The EPA will likely be investigated. This will be an attempt to diminish its power and slow implementation of Biden’s IRA. Moreover, ESG business practices and investments will also be investigated. Investigations will be conducted with the aim of creating legislation that curtails ESG criteria in investment decisions.

 

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