It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

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It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Why We Can’t Afford Not to Pass the Climate Investments in Build Back Better

Democrats must reach an agreement to put a bill with the historic climate provisions in BBBA on President Biden’s desk before his State of the Union speech on March 1.

Damage from Hurricane Ida in New Orleans. Louisiana / © 2021 Infrogmation/Wikimedia cc by 2.0

The American people cannot afford inaction on climate change. Last year, major climate disasters in the U.S. dealt $145 billion in damage; Hurricane Ida alone cost upwards of $75 billion, or nearly 150% of the annual spending on climate investments in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). Without swift action, the costs of climate impacts are projected to reach $14.5 trillion over the next 50 years in the US alone. In the words of a recent Boston Globe headline, “Compared with climate inaction, Build Back Better is downright cheap.”

BBBA’s climate investments would kickstart the transition to a clean energy economy and put the country on track to mitigate catastrophic climate disaster. Without them, the U.S. faces a future of runaway climate change that will destroy communities and weigh down the national economy for generations to come. This is our last best chance to avert that fate.

As negotiations on BBBA extend well into 2022, Democrats are running out the clock on their best opportunity to deliver meaningful climate action and make good on the bold climate agenda that propelled them to victory in 2020. Without the BBBA’s climate investments, President Biden cannot deliver on his commitments to curb climate pollution and build a resilient national economy. As midterm elections approach and the shutdown cliff looms, time is running out—Democrats must reach an agreement to put a bill with the historic climate provisions in BBBA on President Biden’s desk before his State of the Union speech on March 1.

Climate Inaction Is Expensive 

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the American economy. A recent analysis found that climate-fueled extreme weather disasters have cost the U.S. $750 billion over the past 5 years, and in 2021 alone the country suffered 20 billion-dollar disasters, totaling $145 billion in damage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that Hurricane Ida alone dealt $75 billion in damage, and some analysts peg that number closer to $95 billion. Those figures don’t incorporate the human toll of these disasters; the summer Pacific Northwest heatwave alone killed an estimated 670 people. The cumulative cost of climate-fueled disasters is staggering.

If we don’t act today, the climate crisis will only escalate over time. One analysis found that if climate pollution continues unabated, “climate impacts could result in the nation losing 10.5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2100.” The west’s wildfire season is now year-round, the southwest is in a permanent state of drought, hurricanes are growing more powerful and destructive, and the frequency of coastal flooding has multiplied across the country. Only bold federal action to curb climate pollution can help us avoid the worst of these deadly, costly disasters.

 

Climate Action Will Pay Dividends

The historic climate investments contained in BBBA would go beyond mitigating climate change’s steep costs to the American economy; they also stand to pay significant dividends for working families across the country. By supercharging the transition to clean energy, these investments would help protect families from the volatile oil and gas industry, whose price spikes are almost solely responsible for higher home heating costs this winter. As skyrocketing fossil fuel costs put a squeeze on Americans’ pocketbooks, BBBA’s climate investments could save households billions on their energy bills every year.

These bold climate investments will also create jobs in communities across the country. Wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers are two of the five fastest-growing occupations in America, and the transformative climate spending in the Build Back Better Act would accelerate that trend. Just a few of the clean energy tax credits included in the package would together create 1.2 million jobs, and the Civilian Climate Corps alone would create 300,000 more.

Clean energy investments have a strong track record of delivering on jobs and growth: a 2016 analysis White House analysis found that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act’s $90 billion in clean energy spending supported 900,000 jobs between 2009 and 2016, issued 180 funding awards to advanced clean energy manufacturing, and weatherized more than 800,000 homes around the country. If recent history is any indication, the $555 billion of climate funding in the Build Back Better Act will be a transformative investment in the American economy.

Congress Must Act Now

Planetary warming will not stop for Congressional negotiations or election seasons—this moment, and the climate investments in BBBA, are our last best chance to avert the worst outcomes of the climate crisis. The cost of climate inaction is nearly inconceivable, projected at $14.5 trillion over the next 50 years in the US alone. Failure to act now will all but guarantee that American families bear the burden of those escalating costs.

The Build Back Better Act’s climate investments offer a path forward. The climate package has won consensus in the Democratic caucus, and, paired with aggressive executive action, would put the country on track to hit President Biden’s science-based climate commitments. We can’t afford further delay. Democrats in Congress must secure a deal on BBBA now that includes these robust climate investments, and pass this historic legislation before March 1st. 

Call your senators and urge them to take up the Build Back Better Act’s transformative climate investments (it’ll take just a minute, and we even provide a script).