Senate passes climate package

The US Senate has approved a $700bn economic package that will, in part, tackle climate change.

The scaled-back package is a version of a $3.5tr package first proposed by the Biden administration, that has been blocked by cross party concerns over the original cost.

The package includes measures on tax and healthcare, but it is the $369bn earmarked to help address climate change that dominates the package, with help for consumers to buy electric cars and investment help for renewable energy. It will also give $60bn to communities that have suffered from fossil fuel pollution. The package’s supporters hope that the measures will help cut emissions by 40 per cent by the end of the decade.

However, impressive as a 40 per cent fall is, it is still short of the 50 percent reduction that Biden has promised and would still create at least 2.4C of warming this century, and far from the desired maximum of 1.5C compared with pre-industrial levels that will be critical to stopping irreversible climate damage.

Whilst welcome, the dilution of the original promise is likely to have international consequences, with other major emitters more inclined to reduce their commitment and China ignoring any Western measures following the elevation of distrust between the US and China. Adding to this the EU energy crisis that will delay emissions reductions from some of the EU nations too.

All in all, the package looks like it could, despite its $700bn price tag, be too little, too late.

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