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A Strong Climate Change Bill Needs your Support

Those of us who are Christians committed to ending the climate crisis receive solace from Isaiah 40:31. “Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.” 

The Hebrew word for “wait” in this passage is “Qavah” which means to wait actively with anticipation, watching with hope for God to act. 

We are facing a challenge that can leave us hopeless.  Nearly 1 in 3 Americans live in a county hit by a weather disaster during the past three months. On top of that, 64 percent live in places that experienced a multi-day heat wave.

At least 388 people in the United States have died due to hurricanes, floods, heat waves and wildfires since June. Scientists have more and more evidence all the time that these extreme weather events are made more frequent and intense by climate change. The costs of a changed climate have been devastating across the United States this summer. 

Many of the employment opportunities would be in construction

Some good news: There is finally the possibility of serious climate legislation — included as part of the Build Back Better bill, which is a budget reconciliation bill, currently before Congress. 

Here is what is included in this potentially game-changing legislation: 

There is an exciting new program called the Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP). It would give incentives and payments to the electric utilities that are able to increase the amount of renewable energy and other forms of clean power. The Biden administration says solar energy has the potential to power 40% of US electricity by 2035. It would increase the US workforce by 7.7 million new jobs and add nearly $1 trillion to the economy by 2031.

Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, who has been the main CEPP advocate in the Senate, told CNN that the program not only reduces greenhouse gases, but produces economic benefits to the US as well.She added that the economic benefits will not be concentrated in one state or region. For instance, the report shows a massive potential for solar in the Southeastern US, and onshore wind in the Midwest and West. “This is not going to be a boon for California, or one particular place or another. This will be spread broadly throughout the country," Smith said.

Many of the employment opportunities would be in construction, building infrastructure for wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy to power America's electrical grid. Spending money and stimulating economic activity has an incremental effect as those monies ripple through the economy. 

These climate provisions can play a huge role in putting the U.S. on a path to 100% clean energy

In addition, because the CEPP is largely an incentives-based program that gives federal money to utilities to transition away from fossil fuels, it is less likely to result in sudden job losses during the transition to clean energy. 

The bill contains other features that will reduce the harmful effects of the climate crisis and assist Americans financially. There is money for home energy retrofits including $2,000 rebates for projects that save 20 percent of the home’s average energy use, or $4,000 for 35 percent. (Both numbers are doubled for low-income projects.)

There is also a home electrification project that provides $3,000 per heat pump and $4,000 if it's cold-climate rated.  $6,000 or $7,000 would be provided for low-income projects involving both kinds of heat pumps. Funds would be provided for electric vehicle infrastructure which would be focused on underserved areas. Money would also be available to replace heavy-duty vehicles like fire trucks and school buses with vehicles that produce a lot less emissions. Grants would be provided for decarbonizing federal buildings and fleets.  There would also be money for solar energy for low-income communities.

These climate provisions can play a huge role in putting the U.S. on a path to 100% clean energy by 2035 while investing 40% of benefits going to communities that have been and are most affected by environmental injustices. It would support high-quality, good-paying union jobs. It’s time for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act’s plans to invest in climate, clean energy, justice and jobs. 

If you are concerned about the growing number of harmful weather events caused by the climate crisis, there is something you can do about it. You can contact your U.S. representative and your US senators as soon as possible to urge them to support the climate change elements of the Build Back Better Act. Remember the promise of Isaiah: those who wait with hope on the Lord will experience renewed strength, soaring on wings like eagles.

An easy way to start contacting your legislators is using our action alerts!  Take "Code Red for Humanity": Pass Bold Climate Legislation action now!

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