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Our View: Climate: Legislation to impact global warming – Mankato Free Press

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We can all be grateful the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act will, according to experts, significantly reduce the environmental carnage we have inflicted on the Earth for the last four decades.

We can be sobered, however, about how long it took.

Scientists warned of the risk of global warming and climate change 34 summers ago in 1988, which turned into one of the biggest drought years in U.S. history and became the hottest year on record.

But that record was quickly shattered. 1988 now ranks as the 28th hottest year. Arctic warming is now happening much faster than previously thought, according to a report by Finnish Meteorological Institute. The group reports some areas of the Arctic are warming four to seven times faster than the global average.

Wildfires in the last four decades have burned an area as large as Texas. Some 308 natural disasters since 1988 have cost consumers, business and governments some $308 billion, according to an in-depth report by the Associated Press.

So a $375 billion investment in preventing a continuation of such disasters seems not only prudent but urgent. That’s the amount the Inflation act has for incentives to prevent more climate change. Incentives work better than regulation, experts say, so the climate provisions of the bill will make a significant difference.

Even Al Gore thinks so. “This legislation is a true game-changer. It will create jobs, lower costs, increase U.S. competitiveness, reduce air pollution,” Gore told the Associated Press. The former senator and vice president held his first global warming hearing 40 years ago.

“The momentum that will come out of this legislation, cannot be underestimated,” he said.

Others say it’s a market based solution that creates incentives for consumers to buy more green energy and reduce household carbon emissions, for businesses to build out products that don’t use fossil fuels and for utilities to add more green energy.

There will likely be billions of dollars in private investments, says Leah Stokes, an environmental policy professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “That’s what’s going to be so transformative,” she told the AP.

While environmental advocates say they’d like a bigger and better bill than the one that passed Congress last week, they agree it’s a good start and most agree it is the biggest investment made by any country ever.

The bill encourages such crucial technologies as battery storage, clean energy manufacturing, electric car subsidies, and incentives to weatherize homes with things like rooftop solar and heat pumps.

Gore notes the efforts may turn back the long and deceitful campaign by the fossil fuel industry to raise doubts about the damage of global warming. Unfortunately, it took the carnage happening before our eyes to convince us.

Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will offer the best chance in recent history for consumers and business and government to take action with their pocketbook to reduce global warming and stop the destruction of the planet.

We only have to act on those incentives.

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