The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is touted by the Biden administration as “the most significant action Congress has taken on clean energy and climate change in the nation’s history.” It promises a $370 billion investment to help lower energy costs for families and small business, while accelerating private investment in clean energy throughout the US economy. The IRA is a direct outcome of the movement for a Green New Deal, which was led by activist organizations like the Sunrise Movement and championed by members of Congress like Rep. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. However, the final signed bill has been described as a “pale facsimile” of what was originally proposed in the Green New Deal. Core participants in the climate Left hold varying opinions on this result; assessing whether and how it can be seen as a victory requires considerable thought and nuance.
As a leader in the Sunrise Movement at the time, William himself played a part in the Green New Deal story. For this episode he brings in two other experts on the program’s progression and evolution through Congress, Adrien Salazar and Tim Sahay. They trace the IRA’s political journey from sit-in protests at Nancy Pelosi’s office by young climate activists in 2018 to the legislation that reached President Joe Biden’s desk in August of 2022.
Adrien is policy director at Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, chairs the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity, and serves on the board of the Sustainable Economies Law Center. He convenes the Green New Deal Policy Nexus network of movement leaders and policy experts to advance climate justice policy and strategy.
Tim is a climate organizer and policy manager as well as writer of The Polycrisis newsletter with a focus on the global economy’s impact on climate change.
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