Earlier this week, senators were able to agree on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The massive bill falls short of several key elements that would support environmental protection while climate change is an ongoing crisis.
The money poured into infrastructure that would prevent flood damage and reduce the risk of wildfires proves that both parties in some way acknowledged the threats posed by climate change and were able to treat it as a crisis.
The legislation acknowledges the ongoing issue and aims to protect people from natural disasters, which will occur much more frequently in the future. However, the bill fails to take several steps that would remedy climate change at its root.
While it will implement some beneficial resources, like charging stations for electric vehicles, and railways to reduce fuel emissions caused by cars, it doesn’t boost renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science at Penn State University says that instead, the bill is “focusing money and resources on technologies that don’t work while ignoring the clear winners.”
The EPA reported in 2019 that 29% of the country’s fuel emissions were from transportation. The new infrastructure bill invests heavily in highway construction, which, if anything, would strengthen transportation that harms the environment.
The Associated Press says that the bill doesn’t include Clean Electricity Standard, which would force the electric grid to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. This, and other measures that would help the country shift away from fossil fuel dependency, are expected to be included in a democratic infrastructure bill which will follow the bipartisan one.