Planet vs. Plastics
Ignoring Plastic: The Crucial Gap in America’s Inflation Reduction Act
September 6, 2023
Climate change rarely occurs from natural causes, such as volcanic activity or an increase in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth. Instead, it is mainly an inevitable consequence of humankind’s modern, toxic lifestyle. Since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth’s average temperature has increased by 1.1 °C and, without intervention, this trend will persist and lead to increasingly dire consequences.
With the rising national concern over climate change, the United States government formulated the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. When President Joe Biden signed the act on August 16, 2022, a 10-year plan went into effect in hopes of generating sustainable solutions to the rising temperature while aiding in economic growth.
Now that the first anniversary of this new addition to the United States law has passed, it has left climate change activists wondering: Has the Inflation Reduction Act made any headway on its long-term solutions since its establishment?
Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is a $1.2 trillion economic and environmental government plan ultimately established to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and to invest in renewable energy production to increase its value and reliability.
Since its establishment, the Inflation Reduction Act has added 175,000 new environmental jobs to the workforce, with 75,000 of those jobs dedicated to the battery supply chain, and a $110 billion increase in the funding for research within the renewable energy field toward sustainable infrastructure and transportation.
Not to mention the Act has provided a billion-dollar contribution to underrepresented communities around the United States to fight the impacts of climate change, such as droughts and extreme heat, and to reduce the overall carbon footprint. More specifically, this sum of money has contributed to specific investments in the solar energy field and allowed for 12 million homes to be supplied with electricity for the coming years.
Although the Inflation Reduction Act seems to have made a substantial impact on improving research and funding to the renewable energy field, there is still a greater need for environmental, societal, and government action to fight the climate crisis. Plastic production and pollution, for example, is a direct contributor to the rising global issues of climate change, yet it takes a noticeable absence in the act’s national environmental goals.
Plastic production and incineration release substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. It is projected that by 2030 plastic emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons yearly– which is equivalent to the emissions of 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. Around 99 percent of the plastics currently being used and circulated the globe have originated from fossil fuels, and less than 10 percent of plastic is being recycled. The Inflation Reduction Act overlooks the negative impacts of plastic production and pollution and, therefore, fails to make headway on long-term solutions for climate change.
Adding on, Biden’s administration has approved more than 6,430 oil and gas drilling permits within the first two years of his presidency, which will emit around 800 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere. This is extremely counterproductive to the Inflation Reduction Act and is instead contributing to the rising emissions of air pollution and increasing global temperatures.
Why Should You Care?
Climate change has managed to negatively impact every region and living being on Earth, from the intensive melting of polar ice caps, wildfires raging across Europe, North America, and Africa, and rising sea levels to increases in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among human beings. With plastic production and pollution playing an increasingly crucial role in the rising temperatures of the Earth, there must be further procedures taken to maintain a habitable and prospering Earth for years to come.
It is time for you to play your part in working toward a plastic-free future. Encourage the United States to join the Global Plastics Treaty, a worldwide mission to invest in the Earth’s future by ending plastic pollution. Also, research our campaign, Planet vs. Plastics, and join us in our goal to help reduce plastic production by 60 percent by 2040, and its detrimental effects on our planet. Let’s unite and take action.