After a grueling 16-hour weekend session, the Senate has passed the most ambitious climate bill in U.S. history — offering new hope to a world hungry for game-changing climate action.

Designed to address the dual crises of inflation and climate, the Inflation Reduction Act garnered support from top economists and environmental advocates. It includes a $369B package of clean energy investments that will lower energy costs for families and businesses and create more than 9 million jobs over the next decade. 

The act will bring the U.S. substantially closer to President Biden’s goal of cutting U.S. climate pollution in half by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

 “It’s the biggest thing Congress has ever done to fight climate change,” says EDF President Fred Krupp.  

The House will cast its vote on Friday, August 12, the last remaining hurdle before President Biden signs this historic climate action into law. 

A boost for manufacturing and consumers

The most immediate effect of the bill will be to accelerate the growth of wind turbine, solar panel and electric vehicle production in the U.S. These investments will help U.S. businesses be more competitive in the global race to lead the world’s growing, $23T clean energy market — while creating good jobs domestically. 

It also provides rebates and tax credits for consumers to buy energy efficient appliances, heat pumps and rooftop solar, and to weatherize homes, saving families up to $500 a year on energy costs. And car-buyers will get up to $7,500 for buying U.S.-made electric vehicles.

Speeding up the move to clean energy will also free consumers from the price volatility of fossil fuels, a big driver of the inflation in the U.S. The bill also invests $60B in environmental justice, an unprecedented move to address the legacies of disinvestment and pollution in Black, Latino, Indigenous and low-income communities. 

Next steps

Advocates said the investment in environmental justice is an important first step, but cautioned that much more will be needed to ensure historically under-resourced communities benefit from a clean energy future. Similarly, a $20B investment in rural communities to make food production more climate resilient is only a start. 

More action is needed, says EDF, from the Biden administration and from Congress to make further cuts in climate pollution and prepare communities for the climate impacts that can’t be avoided.

“The bill is not perfect,” says Krupp. “But it is a very big win for our climate and our economy.”