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Confused About The Inflation Reduction Act? A Former US Vice President Can Help You With That

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Are you rather baffled about the fine print in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)? You’re not alone. The US Treasury Department’s long-awaited guidance on battery sourcing requirements for electric vehicle tax credits will result in fewer vehicles getting full or partial credits, but the requirements are tricky. Then there’s federal income tax credits for the installation of qualifying heat pumps — but what efficiency tiers are eligible? Don’t despair — a former US Vice President would like to help you crawl through the federal muck and take advantage of the IRA’s full potential.

Al Gore is known as one of the world’s most prominent climate activists. He said in an interview with Inside Climate News that the IRA — even with some gaps, failings, and confusing elements — “is still, by far, the biggest and best climate legislation ever enacted by any country, ever.”

He adds that, having been through legislative struggles for many years, “this is the kind of outcome that needs to be celebrated.” By looking forward instead of backwards and building “on the tremendous success that the legislation really does present,” Gore says that both the IRA and the climate provisions of the infrastructure law “will translate into significant climate action as quickly as possible.”

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The Biden-Harris administration’s landmark climate legislation can usher in at-scale solar, wind, nuclear, carbon capture, and other alternatives to fossil fuels. It can make it easier for businesses to make the switch through rebates or tax credits. Homeowners can invest in upgrades, such as electric vehicles, electric stoves, heat pumps, up-to-date electric panels, or energy-efficient windows.

There’s just one problem. By their own account, a third of registered voters have heard “nothing at all” about the climate law, which was combined with pharmaceuticals-focused and other spending within the IRA signed in August, according to a Yale Project on Climate Change Communication poll conducted in December. Another 24% heard “a little” and 29% heard “some” about the law.

The Former US Vice President Pushes Climate Reality

For more than 40 years, former US Vice President Al Gore has been at the forefront of the movement to solve the global climate crisis. A longtime public servant, US Vice President Gore prioritized the climate crisis and its solutions throughout his career as a Congressperson, Senator, and US Vice President.

As US Vice President, Gore encouraged the development of low carbon technologies through the Climate Change Technology Initiative and the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles to replace the internal combustion engine. In an effort to improve environmental education globally and encourage action, the US Vice President established the GLOBE program, which continues to promote environmental awareness among children in schools across the country.

Gore is a founding partner and chairman of Generation Investment Management. As an activist who has sought the right balance between sounding the climate crisis alarm while also avoiding immersing people in despair, Gore has focused on justifiable optimism for quite a long time. He feels that technological trends have fostered progress in many political systems, nations, cities, provinces, and states.

His optimism aside, the IRA climate legislation continues to confuse many individuals.

Enter the Climate Reality Project; the former US Vice President is its founder and chair. The nonprofit is devoted to solving the climate crisis and now will offer online training open to the public to help people take advantage of the clean energy provisions of the IRA. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps was born from the belief that everyday people could lead the fight on climate and together change the world. The program started in 2006, when 50 aspiring advocates joined Vice President Gore at his barn in Nashville, Tennessee to learn how to share the truth about the climate crisis, just as he had in the Academy Award-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Two decades later, that 50 has grown to over 45,000 advocates working together for just climate solutions across sectors and continents.

A session like the “Power Up Training: From Act to Action” gives participants the tools, training, and network they need to be informed climate emissaries. Focused on the US, it outlines specific ways that individuals, communities, businesses, NGOs, and others can take advantage of the significant new resources and opportunities provided in this law. In that way, there will be minimal lag time between enactment of the law and the beneficial consequences of the law.

By attending such a training, which starts in April, participants will:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the climate crisis and how we can solve it from facilitators like Vice President Gore and world-renowned scientists, activists, innovators, and policymakers;
  • Work with field-leading organizers and experts to become an effective advocate and leader, equipped with the skills to influence decision makers, shape public opinion, mobilize your community, and more;
  • Learn about the relationship between the climate crisis and wide-ranging environmental justice issues from air pollution to loss and damage;
  • Connect with Climate Reality Leaders and join a global community of advocates just like themselves; and,
  • Network with individuals and organizations leading the charge for solutions to the greatest challenge of our time.

Gore describes these trainings as giving highly accurate, highly actionable information that will be available to as many people as are interested in using it.

Training areas include:

  • Up-to-date, factual information about the climate crisis, the causes of it, and the solutions for it;
  • Specific skills in areas like communication and persuasion and organizing at the grassroots level;
  • Connect participants with networks of like-minded individuals;
  • Taking advantage of the tax credits, the other incentives, the matching grants, and all the different provisions of the law; and,
  • Learning about the specifics: solar, wind, community solar, EV charging stations, retrofitting, heat pumps, more insulation, better windows, and more.

“One of the analyses says that for every increased ton of emissions coming from the provisions [supporting traditional energy] that folks like me don’t like in this legislation,” Gore conceded, “there are 28 tons of emissions reductions [within other initiatives in the bill]. And in a representative democracy, where compromise is almost always essential to getting a big outcome, that’s a pretty good ratio of compromise.”

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack:

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