Themes for the Power Up Training: From Acts to Action
Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training
Power Up Training: From Acts to Action | April 2023
At a time when the climate crisis and its increasing impacts are reshaping everyday life for millions of Americans, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) present a historic opportunity to speed the just transition to clean energy, advance environmental justice, and build healthy, thriving communities across the US.
To seize this movement, The Climate Reality Project is hosting Power Up Training: From Acts to Action, a multiday online training for working Americans, business owners, policymakers, community leaders, and grassroots advocates looking to use these laws to electrify homes and workplaces and make them more efficient, bring new opportunities to disadvantaged communities, accelerate clean energy development, build healthier neighborhoods, and create good paying jobs.
Power Up Training: From Acts to Action will detail what these laws mean for working families and communities and how individuals, business owners, local and state governments, and grassroots groups can take full advantage of the opportunities on offer.
The training will also present opportunities for advocates and leaders to network across sectors and states and collaborate in building a just clean energy future together. We'll also look at how we can use the IRA and IIJA to bring environmental justice and major investments to frontline communities most impacted by pollution and climate change from coast to coast.
How Historic Legislation Can Generate Historic Climate Action
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have created an historic opportunity for climate action in the US, with unprecedented federal investments and incentives available for clean energy, transportation, and resilience and – critically – major funding specifically allocated for environmental justice initiatives.[i]
What does historic mean? One estimate suggests that the IRA alone may ultimately channel over $800 billion toward climate solutions.[ii] Coupled with IIJA funding dedicated to public transportation, electric vehicle expansion, and emissions reduction efforts across sectors, the law puts the US on the path to a healthy and just clean energy future.[iii]
Justice is a core objective of both laws, guided by the Justice40 initiative that requires that a minimum of 40% of the benefits of certain programs in the IRA and IIJA investments go to frontline communities most impacted by the effects of climate change.[iv] This framework will serve as an essential tool to help create equitable pathways for a truly just transition from fossil fuels.
These laws will deploy expanded tax credits and federal funding available for states, businesses, and individuals to invest in clean energy programs. The IRA (when added to existing policies) is projected to accelerate emissions reductions to roughly 40% by the end of the decade relative to 2005 levels.[v] And excitingly, the focus on environmental justice and remediation are stand-out components of each law, bringing the US one step closer to addressing the systemic environmental and climate inequities faced by communities that have been ravaged by environmental racism for decades.
At Power Up Training: From Acts to Action, you'll gain a foundational understanding of each of these laws and how to access the programs and benefits they offer you, your community and state. You'll also learn about the role that Justice40 principles will play in guiding our just transition to clean energy and have the opportunity to network, build advocacy skills, and much more.
Opportunities to Strengthen Collaboration and Maximize Results
The climate provisions in both the IRA and IIJA span a range of industries and encompass a variety of potential programmatic implementations that touch agencies from the Internal Revenue Service to the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Interior and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. And with such big and complex legislations, it can be hard for policymakers and local leaders to know where to start.
Some of the key components of the IRA, for example, offer individual tax credits for electric vehicle purchasing, solar panel and heat pump equipment and installation, as well as larger grants to fund activities that reduce pollution and emissions, among other measures.[vi] Beyond energy-specific initiatives, the laws additionally provide funding for conservation efforts. IIJA climate funding, meanwhile, focuses on infrastructure updates, with increased investments in clean energy, public transportation expansion and transition to zero-emissions vehicles, and pollution reduction.[vii]
With such a broad scope – and incredible opportunities on offer – in these new policies, state governments and local communities can greatly benefit by coordinating and collaborating across sectors to maximize funding and progress.
Power Up Training: From Acts to Action is a chance to learn how to begin these key conversations. Via online issue panels and skill-building sessions, representatives from relevant agencies and sectors will provide in-depth information around the provisions, funding allocations, and eligibility requirements of specific programs. You'll also hear from grassroots leaders about the future of local climate projects these laws could help actualize, the community needs they can serve, and how you can help bring the best programs to your part of the country.
Centering Climate and Environmental Justice
Redlining has historically and systemically placed frontline and low-income communities at the forefront of environmental damage and at highest risk for exposure to pollution.[viii] As a result, frontline communities often experience more negative health impacts, leaving them at higher risk for developing respiratory illness or cancer.[ix]
The IRA and IIJA take direct aim at this injustice, with up to $60 billion in the IRA alone dedicated to environmental justice-specific projects for capacity building and tools and technologies to reduce air pollution and emissions.[x] Dispersed across more than 12 federal agencies, the funding provides general grants for environmental justice and climate resiliency.
As one example of the good these laws will do, the IRA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund through the EPA provides $27 billion in financing for clean energy infrastructure and other emissions reducing activities. Critically, 60% of this funding is directed specifically toward frontline communities.[xi]
Our challenge now is to ensure this funding reaches the communities intended. Part of this effort must be bringing communities into the process of designing programs to serve them.[xii] Planning must also involve consideration for potential barriers to access, such as around technical assistance, technology, and community relevance.
At Power Up Training: From Acts to Action, you'll learn about key policies and have the opportunity to network and engage with fellow attendees about the need for future measures to ensure that individuals and organizations in frontline communities can fully capitalize on these provisions. Join us to learn how your intervention can be a crucial part in helping to make both laws the most impactful they can be.
Bringing Federal Funds and Tax Incentives to Your Community
Local leaders and grassroots activists can work with government officials at all levels to spread the word about major legislation and how it can help states and communities.
With long-awaited breakthroughs on climate policy and environmental justice now in our grasp, our challenge is to raise awareness of the opportunities available and engage communities across the country in working collectively to accelerate a truly just transition to clean energy.
Join us for Power Up Training: From Acts to Action, and we'll help you build the knowledge, skills, and network to share what these laws can do for your community – and ensure critical funding reaches families, businesses, grassroots organizations, and local agencies in your part of the country.
Following the training, you'll be invited to join a new Climate Reality campaign working to implement the IRA and IIJA across the US. You'll also join the ranks of an extensive network of over 45,000 climate advocates in our Climate Reality Leadership Corps and connect with a local US chapter of advocates as we work together to make the IRA and IIJA the most effective, equitable, and solutions-oriented climate policy the US has ever seen.
[i] https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5376/text; https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text
[v] https://repeatproject.org/; https://rhg.com/research/inflation-reduction-act/; https://repeatproject.org/docs/REPEAT_IRA_Prelminary_Report_2022-08-04.pdf
[x] https://www.npr.org/2022/08/17/1117725655/the-spending-bill-will-cut-emissions-but-marginalized-groups-feel-they-were-sold; https://repeatproject.org/docs/REPEAT_IRA_Prelminary_Report_2022-08-04.pdf; https://www.npr.org/2022/08/17/1117725655/the-spending-bill-will-cut-emissions-but-marginalized-groups-feel-they-were-sold