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Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.  

117th Congress Passes Climate Bills, Helping Set FCNL Priorities

The 117th Congress wrapped up its work at the end of December. Over the course of the two-year session, lawmakers passed several key climate-forward bills. They include the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and most notably, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA places the United States on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. 

Though control over the 118th Congress is divided, the next two years will still offer a chance to bolster past successes while fostering bipartisan conversations on climate and energy. At FCNL, we’ll be focusing on:

  • Advocating for just implementation of approved funding and ensuring that communities can smoothly and efficiently use these new benefits.
  • Building bipartisan support for policies like carbon pricing.
  • Holding the federal government accountable for delivering funding to developing countries who have shouldered a disproportionate burden of the climate crisis.

Victories and Missed Opportunities in FY2023 Omnibus Bill

At the end of December, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 117-328), a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through most of 2023.

The sprawling package contained some exciting provisions. Congress dedicated $10.1 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increasing their budget by $576 million over the previous year. The agency will use the funding for enforcement work, clean air, clean water, and toxic chemicals programs.

Legislators also included $3.4 billion for vehicle advancement; hydrogen research and development; marine, wind, and solar energy; weatherization assistance programs; and renewable grid integration. $1.8 billion was included to implement the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which will help the economy advance domestic semiconductor manufacturing and speed up the development of electric vehicles.

However, we were disappointed that Congress did not include a comprehensive funding package for tackling climate injustice, domestically and internationally. Although President Joe Biden has pledged that the United States will give an annual amount of $11.4 billion to developing countries struggling with climate adaptation, Congress did not include even a fraction of the promised amount in the omnibus bill.

Legislators also left the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021/S. 872)—a critical bill to address environmental injustice domestically—out of the final package.

In 2022, FCNL constituents sent more than 13,500 letters in support of environmental justice.

News and Updates

EU Leadership Takes Bold Carbon Control Action
On Dec. 13, European Union (EU) negotiators agreed to move forward with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The policy is aimed at preventing “carbon leakage”—which occurs when companies move their production abroad to avoid the EU’s price on carbon set by the Emissions Trading System (ETS). It will take effect in October 2023. 

COP15 Results in Increased Conservation Commitments   
Between Dec. 7 and 19, representatives from governments around the world gathered in Montreal, Canada, for the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15). The key result of negotiations was the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which aims to protect 30% of land and water by 2030. It also aims to restore 30% of the planet’s degraded ecosystems, and reduce enviromentally-harmful subsidies by $500 billion annually. 

What We’re Reading:

Staff: Jus Tavcar

Jus Tavcar

Interim Legislative Associate, Sustainable Energy and Environment (2022-2023)

Jus Tavcar is the interim legislative associate for sustainable energy and environment. In his work, Jus lobbies Congress to pass policies in favor of transitioning into a just green economy.