Five Climate Policy Highlights of 2023
2023 has been a significant year for climate policy and solutions. It was the first year we really started to see the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) at work, and with hundreds of millions of dollars invested and tens of thousands of jobs created, it’s not slowing down anytime soon. The clean energy transition is no longer a future dream; we’re witnessing it unfolding in real time.
With the backdrop of IRA grants and tax credits becoming available and making climate actions easier to implement, states, cities, businesses, and other organizations took the helm on climate action. From statewide rules on transportation emissions to all-electric energy-efficient building codes, states and localities took extraordinary steps to reduce climate pollution from buildings, fleets, waste, and more.
Here are some of the top climate policy wins and success stories from 2023:
“What the IRA has enabled us to do as a nonprofit, tax-exempt hospital system is to gain access to the federal dollars we need to drive substantial energy projects that will reduce our emissions and help us meet our climate targets,” said Rob Roy, chief investment officer for AdventHealth, one of the largest faith-based hospital systems in the country.
"The sweeping measure addresses multiple transportation funding gaps across the state, and it also contains some key provisions that can boost the state's overall climate action. These include dedicated funding for public transit and a new approach for viewing infrastructure needs through the broader lens of climate change."
“Jennifer Weiss, co-director of the nonprofit North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, said her organization is preparing for an influx of capital through the IRA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The funds will enable them to create financing solutions that fill critical gaps in the clean energy investment space, particularly when it comes to organizations and individuals that are often last to benefit.”
“Despite COVID-19 delays and other challenges in receiving and charging the buses, the [Salt Lake City School District] now has 12 electric school buses up and running. And they aren’t stopping there – a student-led sustainability resolution set a goal of carbon-neutral district operations by 2040, and Martinez’s transportation department has its own goal of a 75% electrified bus fleet by 2035. They’ve installed solar panels on one of the bus canopies and their charging infrastructure is now set up for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, which will enable them to send power back to the grid.”
“With Michigan currently leading the Midwest in terms of clean energy jobs, the business community is also invested in improved building codes in order to continue creating employment opportunities, said Grace Michienzi, Senior Director of Policy at the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. The council supports roughly 160 advanced energy companies doing business in the state of Michigan and Michienzi said updated building codes are important to the growth of several types of businesses in the state.”