Act with Decarbonized Impact
22 of August 2022
The timing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) couldn’t be better. Kudos to the Administration for its efforts towards our 2050 net-zero emissions targets. The text of the Act is clear – healthcare, agriculture, energy, and transportation have an important role to play. It symbolizes a fitting intersection of efforts to launch a paradigm of green supply chain management and climate-smart transformation.
The NIH has opened the floor up to ideas from the private sector for innovative approaches to the identification of at-risk or climate-vulnerable populations; the USDA has created and gathered comprehensive resources on climate-smart agriculture for interested farmers; the DOE has strongly encouraged the exploration of new technologies of environmental management with a focus on decarbonization, while the DOT has introduced a Climate Adaptation Plan that focuses attention on those who need adaptive assistance the most.
The IRA’s focus on a set of critical economic sectors is a sign of how proximate the domain of climate change is to the provision of quality healthcare services. While the Act focuses on the pricing of prescription drugs and the introduction of spending caps, this may well become one of the defining aspects of the Federal’s Government’s approach to the medical management of climate risk and human health, in combination with wider decarbonization efforts. The focus on the agricultural sector is similarly prescient, where two areas in particular stand out – the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions with an explicit emphasis on methane, and the provision of agricultural credit for the installation of on-site renewable energy systems. The common thrust for both healthcare and agriculture is on the development of innovative decarbonization regimes that can be adapted across the entirety of the U.S. economy.
Energy forms the backbone of this configuration for a better future and the Act does well to prioritize it at every stage. The emphasis on the incentivization of a shift to electric vehicles, accompanied by the provision of funding for the further exploration of offshore wind electricity are strong communications of the current national intent. The role of the DOE is also closely linked to the DOT’s roadmap, with a particularly significant overlap between the two on the topics of low and zero emissions vehicles, carbon pollution-free electricity and deep energy retrofits.
The Act presents a well-rounded blueprint for how we can begin to craft approaches that align with national emissions reduction targets through the careful use of technological interventions. While time and geography have placed significant constraints on our current capacities to innovate, the adoption of sustainability as a habit has opened many new doors for cross-sector exchanges.
The biggest lesson for our times is that we cannot hope to change unless we take an active part in the process, so away we go!