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The Inflation Reduction Act: everything in one place (with transcripts!)
Five pods on the IRA, now available for your reading pleasure.
Over the past few months, I've done several podcasts on the Inflation Reduction Act, the climate bill that Democrats were able to pass, somewhat miraculously, earlier this year.
As I expected, there was quite a bit of demand for transcripts of these podcasts, so I bumped them to the head of the line. Here they are, in the order aired:
If you need further enticement, here are some excerpts:
What to make of the Democrats' last-minute climate bill: A conversation with Jesse Jenkins and Leah Stokes about the Inflation Reduction Act.
The combination of a robust effort by the climate movement to put this issue at the top of the policy agenda and keep it there, and the ability of a lot of advocates to point at some of the tangible near-term economic benefits of this bill — on energy cost reductions, inflation reduction, manufacturing jobs, energy security — are what ultimately allowed someone like Senator Manchin to not just embrace it, but over the last week really go out and champion this bill in public and point to those kinds of issues.
If an American household adopts the technologies that this bill is going to make more affordable – getting an EV, putting solar on your roof, getting a heat pump, getting a heat pump hot water heater, etc – you can save $1,800 a year on your energy bills going forward, every single year.
Some thoughts on the Inflation Reduction Act: A little history and context to help understand the bill's significance.
Let me say in the strongest possible terms: if the entirety of Build Back Better had died and Democrats had passed nothing, despite the things that Biden has accomplished, net-net, the Democrats would have been a failure on climate.
What I think I want to emphasize above all to people is that the core climate and energy provisions of the original magnificent Build Back Better bill survived remarkably intact. Manchin nuked everything else out of the bill – the child tax credit, the care provisions, health care paid leave. … But the climate and energy parts, the bones that were developed and written by experts, are still in there.
So I find myself out on the internet, out on Twitter, begging people to be happy about this, which is not a role I customarily find myself in. I'm usually on the other end of that, explaining to people why they should be miserable. But the movement came together in the waning years of the Trump administration. It came together, it did a lot of work – a lot of physical work, a lot of emotional work, overcoming differences, coming into an alignment around broad, ambitious policy, pushing it to the front of the line for Democrats, and then, in the end, miraculously getting it passed to become law.
Diving further into the Inflation Reduction Act: Part One: The first of two hardcore wonk-dives with Jesse Jenkins.
If you think directionally about the impact of the bill on US oil and gas development projects overall, there is no subsidy in this bill for oil and gas development. There is no explicit thumb on the scale for oil and gas development; there is a big thumb on the scale for all of the competition to oil and gas.
Certain provisions could cause harm, certain provisions could reduce harm. I think it's fair to say that there is no other world where this bill exists without any one of these provisions. We went all the way to the brink of failure twice, and this is the best product we could get out of the US Congress. I don't think you can take any of them out and still keep all the other stuff. You could have no bill or you could have this bill.
Diving further into the Inflation Reduction Act: Part Two: The second of two wonky deep dives with Jesse Jenkins.
Most of the tax credits are available for the decade from 2023 to 2032. That's huge. This is the decade that we have to drive ourselves over the top of the mountain and down the other side. This is the pivotal decade to get on track to net-zero emissions, and we’ve bought ourselves the decade. There's more work to be done, but we just got all the federal financial incentives that we need for the next decade.
It's going to be hundreds of billions of dollars of investment driven into the United States in critical minerals, battery assembly, battery manufacturing, cathodes, anodes, EV assembly – and that's going to be great for US employment.
The typical pushback against domestic content is that it raises costs for consumers relative to whatever the competitive foreign product is. The bill doesn't just require domestic content, it also covers all of that cost – and then some in the case of batteries, probably – with subsidies. So there will be no higher cost for consumers.
Talking through the Inflation Reduction Act with Don't Look Up director Adam McKay: Addressing some reservations.
Losing the cap on insulin for people not covered by government insurance was a major blow, because what we need to be doing right now more than anything is showing people that aren’t millionaires that government can work for them, across party lines.
Here's how I would end this podcast if it was a film. I’d do us positive and cheery, then I’d smash cut to a steak restaurant where three oil lobbyists are eating crab cakes and listening to this podcast on their phone and just laughing.