We have a special episode of the Zenergy Podcast today, whereas we are joined by 3 guests to breakdown the Inflation Reduction Act. Topics discussed:Topic 1:
There is a lot to unpack in the Climate bill. Will walks us through some of the key highlights. Climate Tracker: https://airtable.com/shrzbm0uBAWOyP7Sd/tblFzX5IPIamN8zzB Topic 2:
The Rhodium Group initially indicated odds of a 24-35% cut in US net GHG emissions, but upon the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act, Rhodium estimates indicate a likelier scenario of a 31-44% cut of US net GHG emissions below 2005 levels by 2030. Tappan talks about specific parts of the bill that he believes will have the most direct impact on reducing GHG emissions? Good resource: https://rhg.com/research/inflation-reduction-act/ Topic 3:
Grant, as a leader in climate advocacy, walks us through his feelings on the bill, and the advocacy efforts that go into it.
The Climate Explainer Will Hackman is a conservation and climate policy expert with more than a decade of experience in campaigns and global environmental issue advocacy. Will served as a political fundraiser and campaign manager on four federal races for the U.S. House and Senate as well as a gubernatorial campaign. He then joined the public sector conservation community as a marine fisheries conservation advocate. Will developed a love for the ocean over years working as a commercial Alaskan fisherman. Will has dedicated his career to advancing public policies related to ocean and land conservation as well as energy and the environment. He has attended four United Nations climate conferences and is a frequent policy expert voice on podcast interviews and articles. Will recently filmed a TEDx talk on stage in Washington, DC discussing ways we need to reframe our climate conversations.
President of the DC Climate Reality Project With proven competence and passion to address the challenges of a changing climate, Grant design's the climate solutions and policies our world desperately needs. Grant excels at illuminating complex socioenvironmental issues with both the quantitative and qualitative research skills needed to create human-centered solutions. Grant's research efforts have created a community-based socioeconomic risk model for a warming world and reported on patterns of resilient and sustainable urban development. Grant's skilled communication has translated the interconnections of the environmental and social facets of climate change through publications like Forbes and Smart Cities Dive. With a keen eye toward equitable solutions, Grant takes a holistic aim at the climate crisis.
Project Specialist at the World Resources Institute Tappan Parker is a Project Specialist in the Tools, Reporting, and Analysis for Climate Initiative. He supports the creation of a strategy for open energy data as part of the "Global Energy Data Commons" project. Prior to joining WRI, Tappan worked on anti-corruption projects in Europe and Eurasia with the Center for International Private Enterprise, supported program development and grassroots campaigns with Environment America, and conducted media monitoring with the American Wind Energy Association. Tappan holds an M.A. in International Development from American University and a B.A. in Festival and Event Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In his free time, Tappan enjoys biking, board games, playing music and tacos.
Transcript of the Podcast:
Are you looking to become a leader in clean energy and an expert in cleantech? Do you hope to get noticed in the crowd as you pursue a career in this fastly growing industry? You are in the right place; join Karan Takhar as he invites clean energy leaders to share industry developments, highlight cleantech investment opportunities and shed light on how you can increase their chances of employment in this high-growth sector. We will also discuss the energy transition across key emerging markets like India and explore partnership opportunities for the US private and public sector. After all, this is the Zenergy podcast.
00:50 Karan Takhar
Hi everybody, welcome to a special episode of this Zenergy podcast where we are joined by three guests today in an effort to unpack the climate portion of the inflation reduction acts. I'm thrilled to be joined again by my good friend Will Hackman AKA the Climate Explainer Grant Sands, the current president of the DC chapter of the climate reality projects in Tappen Parker, the project specialist at the World Resources Institute. So well, Grant, and tap in; just so we're clear, the goal is to make this conversation as interactive as possible, so feel free to jump in and ask questions as they come up to one another into me in case you have any. And with that, let's dive right into it. Starting with you, Will, Mr. Climate explainer, can you walk us through some of the key climate highlights off the bill?
00:01:51 Will Hackman
Yeah, and thank you so much for having me back. This is great to do this episode again shortly after our last conversation. So as you know, I'm a Policy wonk, and I love to see how these historic deals come together over time. You know, it really helps you restore your faith and optimism and the power of our federal government to solve large challenges like climate change. So before I dive into this bill, I think it's really important to first thing step back and look at the progression of this bill over the last couple of years.
00:02:24 Will Hackman
So I'm gonna throw a bunch of numbers out there at you quickly, so please bear with me. So when President Biden took office, he created this huge legislative framework known as the build-back better plan, which called for New Deal-style historic federal spending investments. The first part of this agenda was the COVID-19 relief package called the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into life in March of last year. The other two parts of the agenda for the American Jobs plan and the American Families Plan, which was the Biden administration's broad sweeping vision to transform the American economy and rebuild the middle class?
00:03:10 Will Hackman
The cost of these two proposals was estimated at around $4 trillion, and they included things like investing in a caregiving economy to help value those people who take care of elderly parents, Perform childcare services, funding Universal pre-K, Making Community College free, addressing climate change, and more. This was then combined into breast into a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill known as the build Back Better Act. It still included many of these measures, that was then reduced to around $2 trillion after negotiations with Senator Joe Manchin.
00:03:50 Will Hackman
There are multiple different iterations of the climate provisions in the Build Back Better act, ranging from around 300 to over 500 billion in total climate and clean energy investment. But unfortunately, this process failed to gain the needed support from Senator Manchin. It is also worth noting that along a separate track, an $11.2 trillion, five-part infrastructure bill was agreed to and signed into law last November. So what has emerged now is the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which is still progressing under budget reconciliation. As of the time of recording this interview, of course, and this came out of the build-back better agenda process, but Senator Manchin has been clear that this is not identical to build back better.
00:04:46 Will Hackman
Rather this is a new effort that addresses his concerns and will not add to inflation. In fact, the dole may actually reduce inflation, as the title implies, according to some independent analysis. The Inflation Reduction Act is much smaller than building back better, with 370 billion in spending on energy and climate change, 300 billion deficit reduction, 64 billion an expanding Affordable Care Act subsidies, and it actually raises 739 billion in new revenue from various tax provisions and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.
00:05:31 Will Hackman
So if you're still with me here, despite all these changes and cuts over this long process, the 370 billion on clean energy and combating climate change in the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 would still make it the largest federal climate investment in United States history. So just a couple of key highlights here, there's $30 billion in production tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and critical minerals processing. This will help accelerate the transition to renewable 0 carbon electricity. There's 27 billion.
00:06:14 Will Hackman
There's 27 billion for a new clean energy technology accelerator to help advance renewable technology. There's nearly $70 billion for programs focused on low-income households to electrify home appliances, make dwellings more energy efficient, tax credits to make it easier to buy heat pumps and rooftop solar and water heaters, and many other environmental justice Programs. There's a $7500 tax credit for consumers to purchase new electric vehicles, a $4000 tax credit for used electric vehicles, $20 billion for climate-friendly agricultural practices, another $5 billion to make American forests better prepared for wildfires, and this bill proposal will also set the first methane fee that penalizes fossil fuel companies for access emissions of methane, which is a very powerful climate pollutant. So there are many, many things in this bill, and I know we're going to dig into some more specifics here, but those are some of the key highlights, at least at this point in the proposal process, so I'll stop there with my firehose of information and pass it back over.
00:07:33 Karan Takhar
Very interesting; thank you for providing that history and breakdown. Will as I was doing research leading up to this conversation, I came across a study put forward by the Rhodium Group estimating the impact of this bill on US net GHG emissions, and just for context, after the introduction of this bill, the Rhodium Group increased their net GHG emission cut estimates by about 7 to 9% and now, they expect Net GHG emissions to be reduced by between 31 and 44% below 2005 levels by 2030. So, Tappen, I know you engage in very important analytical work at WRI, which helps unpack systemic change. We'd love to hear about your and WRI's takeaways on the spell, the big pros and what it means overall, and how that feeds into larger systemic change. There are a few questions in there, so feel free to tackle that how you see fit.
00:08:41 Tappen Parker
Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for having me in this conversation. There's a lot to unpack from the bill, and I mean, even Will's history lesson on this and kind of covering some of the major pieces gives a sense of just how monumental this bill is, frankly seeing any kind of climate legislation you get introduced, and there's some real hope of this passing soon. If it passes as Will says, this will be the largest climate legislation in U.S. history, and that's a big deal.
00:09:15 Tappen Parker
So in terms of how we're seeing some of this reduction play out, I think the way to think about this is that all of the big pieces that will was talking about from accelerating US manufacturing and solar panels with $30 billion, with the different tax credits that we have for new clean vehicles for home energy rebates, we have a lot of money going towards reducing emissions from industrial plants to supporting climate-smart agricultural practices, to helping our force be more fire resilient. I like to think of it as all incremental changes that will make a big difference in the long run.
00:10:08 Tappen Parker
You can think of this as those up to 16% in client reductions coming from this bill that's being estimated, you could think of each of these pieces being responsible for anywhere from half a percentage to 2% on their own, but those all add up to big changes because they find the challenge we're facing is a challenge of collective action and what this bill does is it enables a lot of that collective action that has been on going to continue going at scale to continue going in a way that makes all of this more viable. Some of the things I'm particularly keen on looking at this include the incentives for People with less income to actually be able to afford clean electric vehicles. The incentives to actually build more clean vehicles, clean electric vehicles in the US. There's also a lot in here on manufacturing renewables on rebates for renewables on your build-out on more infrastructure to actually make wind turbines and solar panels in the US, as well as some, carve out for battery technology.
00:10:56 Tappen Parker
All of these have the potential to be a real game changer for how we think about getting around, How we think about power in our homes, How we think about our food, and our best practices around all of this. And so the bill itself is probably responsible, we can maybe say for maybe an increased 10%, 9 to 10% reduction over the next eight years. But I think what's really exciting about this is it makes electric vehicles, it makes renewables, it makes legitimate agriculture more viable, and what that means, then, is that for the private sector, the private sector now has more confidence knowing that the US is investing in all of this putting public financing behind this, which can then lead to additional private financing.
00:11:42 Tappen ParkerSo there will be knock-on impacts from this bill in the way that companies and the private sector and the financial sector decide to invest in infrastructure in all these different pieces. So it's not just about what the bill means for Americans, for our climate right now; it's about what this is making more viable in the long term. It's also a really strong international signal that the US is taking climate seriously, and it helps strengthen our stance in international talks, which is going to help further spur action by other major emitters.
00:12:27 Tappen Parker
History has shown that climate action increases when the US actually shows up and makes an investment in these kinds of things. China and India, especially, will not want to be left behind, so they'll be more keen to do some of this work with us to be also seen as leaders in this space. So I think. Where this leaves us, though is it passed, the IR bill is going to be the largest climate legislation in U.S. history. It puts us really within striking distance of achieving RNDC, but at the same time, we still need more action. Congress has done a lot here, and we probably can't expect too much more from Congress over the next 5 to 10 years on climate action. But we can hope for it. So really, where we need to turn our attention to now is what are the actions that are needed by the federal government by non-federal leaders and the private sector. But to all that to say, this is a bill that's helping us make a lot of major progress. And that's Something they are excited about.
00:13:28 Karan Takhar
Amazing, thank you so much for expanding on that. You made so many interesting points which I definitely would love to come back to. Before doing so, however, would love to ask Grant about his perspective on the bill, given that he's leading in many ways climate advocacy work and has been working in that space for so many years. So from that perspective, Grant, could you talk a little bit about how you feel about this bill and also maybe provide some insight into what work goes into putting forward a bill such as this one?
Absolutely, I mean, I'm ecstatic; that's what I am. I'm stunned, ecstatic, and stunned. I remember when I may be kind of ironically, I was on my way back from a business trip for my day job, I was sitting in the terminal in North Carolina, and I just flipped on Twitter to burn some time, and I saw one that trending phrases were mansion climate bill and I kind of thought Oh no, what did he? You know what he shoots down this? Time and you know I started combing through the. stories and the tweets and things from news organizations and from people and commenters and scientists in the space that I really admire, everybody was really excited and also really stunned at the kind of dramatic turn of events that was this seemingly out of nowhere. Although I think now we're learning about what was going on in the background, the time seemed out of nowhere development, and it's exactly as Will and Tappen have said, right?
This is the single largest federal investment in climate change mitigation and clean energy technologies that we've ever seen, and that is something that absolutely needs to be celebrated and taking a step back and looking at the work that advocates within the space have done for, you know, decades to push the government to act and act in a serious way, and in a way that's dramatic enough to meet the challenge that we're facing.
As I started to dig more into the specifics of the bill, and you know some of the studies and some of the analysis that they came in the back of it, like the Rhodium group study we were talking about, and that's I've had time to process that initial kind of stunned reaction that I had My more levelheaded take on, it is still that you know, this is incredible, this needs to be celebrated this is like tap and said this is the US which likes to brand itself as You know the lead nation among the world, the greatest nation on Earth, the last superpower remaining. This is us actually showing up and filling that role for once, to be frank, and that needs to be celebrated at the same time; there's still a gap. There's still work that needs to be done. This doesn't get us all the way there, which means that from an activist point of view, there are still conversations that need to be had. There's still pressure that needs to be placed both on the industry, on politicians, and on the local level.
There's still preparation that needs to be made for the impacts of climate change that we know are coming right. We know there are already consequences that are baked in. So when we talk about becoming more resilient to those effects, regardless of What happens, you know we? Know there are negative aspects coming. So this is an absolutely tremendous step forward, and I do not want to rain on that parade. But at the same time, there's still work that needs to be done, so staying in the field connecting with people, connecting organizations to each other, allowing people the space to talk about their fears, their hopes, their anxieties, their dreams about what the future holds and will look like or could look like and then turning that energy, that collective energy collective spirit into action to further push for the sorts of reductions that we know that we need and that this bill as incredible as it is, and as dramatic as it is, won't get us all the way that work is still there and it is just, you know, keeping on, keeping resilient and pressing forward.
00:17:54 Karan TakharThat makes a lot of sense. I know Will wanted to ask some questions about the climate advocacy firm so. I'll turn it over to Will before we get back to further unpack more specific provisions in the bill. So Will.
00:18:12 Will HackmanThanks, and you know we spoke so much about local, state, and local climate efforts that could happen in the absence of federal leadership in the last episode. And now we're seeing this incredible federal leadership, and we're talking about that and this conversation today. But Grant, I wonder if you have more thoughts from your work with the climate reality project? Yeah, I know DC just passed two climate bills, and you've been involved with zero waste efforts and other underground local activists' efforts in DC. Is there anything else you'd like to share about how those efforts are so critical to, I mean, as you mentioned and as Tappin went over earlier, this federal bill will get us most of the way, but not all the way to our 2030 goal. It'll you know the business-as-usual scenario before this was about 24 to 35% by 2030. Now, with the federal climate legislation Inflation Reduction Act, we might get to 40% reductions by 2030, but our goal is a 50% reduction over 2005 levels by the year 2030, and it's my understanding that that gap is going to be made up mostly by state and local efforts, so maybe you could just talk a little bit more about that.
Yeah, absolutely and it's worth noting for a minute here that the DC chapter of climate reality project, we will spill a Little bit outside the bounds of DC so we do a little bit of work within, you know, Maryland and within Virginia as well, and we try to keep our ear to to all those grounds, and so do you know DC has its just passed a bill, looking to decarbonize their energy supply dramatically Maryland in April passed a bill to actually mandate net 0 carbon emissions by 2045, as well as building a lot of decarbonization and environmental justice aspects in climate resilience aspects within their planning on these context and there's a handful of other states that have taken similar kinds of actions, and I forget who said it, but there's that old saying that the states are the laboratories of democracy, and it's quite true that when you're working on a Topic like this within a liberal capitalistic environment, a lot of times the drivers of action end up being businesses and end up being corporations and one of the things that corporations absolutely hate is a lack of a consistency across the board for the actions that they need to take when they're operating wherever they're operating.
So if you're somebody like Amazon or FedEx or UPS, or you effectively operate everywhere having to be bound by certain standards in one place, and different standards in another place and the third set of standards in another place, that raises your operating cost, and that's generally a negative environment for you to be working within, and so the consequence of that is when it comes to action, you see states that will pass a number of these sorts of decarbonization laws white might be on free trucks, it might be on freight coming into the state, it might be on standards for shipping and things like that.
And eventually, what happens is that business gets so upset with this patchwork of different Regulations that they have to deal with that they go to the federal government and say, OK, you got to figure this out, you've got to sort this out and give us an even level playing field, so any easier for us to plan 'cause, the thing that business hates the most is uncertainty, right? Not to take a detour, but a couple of days ago, as we're recording this, the Federal Reserve came out and announced another 75% increase to their lending rate and sort of confirmed that we are in or on the brink of a recession and the stock market surged mostly just because the government did what the market thought the government was going to do, that's consistency, and the market likes consistency, t
he market likes its expectations being met, and if it's hard to meet expectation in terms of having this patchwork of different regulations, businesses are going to push for the evening that back out, making the expectation easier to meet.
So the result for an organizer is that you're working in Maryland, and you push to get the big decarbonization by the 2045 Bill passed, which gives you a bit of the patchwork. You do that in DC, that's more of the patchwork, it's going to be a little bit different than your that in Virginia, do that in Washington state, you do that in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, you try to get that in as many states that you possibly can be working with the networks that you have and part of what's great about climate reality project is that we have a very large network of activists that are in all over. And so trying to work within the chapter as you can be in communication with other chapters, trying to push these agendas forward so at the end of the day business says OK, OK, OK, all right look, we just need one standard federal level, help us out here and then that tends to push the federal government into action to leveling that playing field out.
00:23:47 Tappen ParkerAnd if I can jump in as well, I think an important note there is that that's also why some states have an outsized influence on the actions that take place in the world serving the US. For instance, in California, because of the size of the Californian market, when they make a regulation that's specific at the state level, it is much easier for companies to follow that regulation. Just apply it everywhere, then try to just do it for the California market and then ignore it elsewhere and have this piecemeal framework that they're working under. In a way, it's almost like regulators are our corporations, businesses' best friends. But of course, the flip side of that, then, is that there are also we're talking corporations and large businesses, but there are also the smaller, small and medium-sized enterprises, as we like to call MSME's. They also have a lot of trouble with that kind of regulation because they don't have the resources and capacity to always follow every single rule that's coming out. So it's part of why a consistent landscape is really important for us doing this kind of work, but it's also challenging.
00:25:02 GrantI was going to say as a note on that to happen isn't California, if it were to stand alone on, it's by itself, doesn't it, Wouldn't it constitute like the 6th or 7th Or 8th largest economy in the world?
00:25:15 Karan TakharYeah, I think it's the 7th largest. If it were to stand alone or be the 7th largest economy in the world, and on your points, I previously interviewed the co-founder of Sun Edison, who at one point in time was responsible for they had about 50% of the regulatory staff for solar, and they would mention how to start enacting solar regulations. First, they would go from one state and then once you get that first domino to fall, then it's much easier to replicate those regulations across other states because you can point To you know its effectiveness and its implementation in that previous state. So thank you both for, you know, expanding on that.
00:26:00 Will HackmanAnd this is, well, maybe I can jump back in one more time here just on this point about the private sector and what these frameworks regulations I mean. This is what federal policy is, right It's a framework to signal, as Tappen mentioned to the rest of the world. And there's a lot of talks here with this bill proposal of how much private sector investment would be unlocked with all of these new federal spending, $370 billion of federal spending on tax credits and incentives and things that will transition. US over to the clean energy economy, but that could leverage a much greater amount of private sector financing as well, and I think that's the goal with pieces of legislation like this, you know I was in Morocco at the United Nations Climate Conference, right after Donald Trump was elected and I heard secretary Kerry at the time talk about the amount of investment that was going to be needed by countries around the world. But he said the public sector couldn't do it alone. The private sector will be the biggest contributor to that level of investment, so massive new pieces of legislation like this can really help to unlock that level of private sector investment.
100%, I've been interviewing a lot of cleantech investors and also venture capitalists who are not necessarily specializing in this space, and a lot of them have slight hesitation to get involved in cleantech investments because they point to what happened in the late early 2000s when a lot of cleantech companies that were invested in ended up not succeeding and they equate today's context to back then; however, the introduction of a bill such as this one will for sure definitely encourage more venture capital investors to get involved in this space, great point Will. Does anyone else want to jump in?
00:27:26 Karan Takhar
00:28:19 Tappen ParkerI do want to jump in on that very quickly because I think that brings up an interesting point, which is that back in 2008, the world wasn't quite an insane place it is today, in terms of clean energy technology, in terms of willingness to invest in clean energy and bills like the IR a build, the Inflation Reduction Act or one of those signals that private investors need and we need the same kind of signals worldwide before that. But it's also a signal of change; it's a signal that the fundamental systems that we're operating under bar changing from ones that where we have fossil fuel dominance in the energy sector to a new system where renewable energy is going to eventually exceed our amount of fossil fuel use. Now the question is whether I'll be able to achieve that at the patient scale needed to meet the surmounting challenges that we have, and that's a big question still, but I think we are starting to see those signals of change, a systemic change that we need to see in all sorts of things. And I, I think that.
I also wanted to mention two discussed apps and remind me of it talking about how much the world has changed since 2008. From the activist point of view, there's a program at Yale called the Yale Program on Climate Change communication, and they do a lot of great work about how people are feeling, thinking, and expressing themselves wrong; climate change is one of their productions is called the Six America study, where they basically split up all of America into these six different groups from being alarmed about climate change all the way down to being dismissive of the problem Problem and something that I always like to point out to people is that if you combine the sort of top three groups, which is a cable that is alarmed or concerned or cautious about climate change
It ends up being 75% of all Americans with the single largest group, the plurality being a lot the alarming category, the highest category they have at 33%, and that's changed fairly significantly since 2008, which was the first time that the study was conducted, the share of people that are alarmed it started in 2008 at only 18% and has now become 33%. While you know some of the other groups of the concern group has, you know, shrunk a little bit as those people are shifted up into becoming alarms, so from a climate communication standpoint, from a climate activist standpoint, there has been a lot of change in the world, and we're at a moment where we're really right for a change.
Agreed, Will actually love for you to mention the recent few studies that we dove into in the last conversation and maybe ask Grant his thoughts on how to continue to advocate an inclusive and positive way.
00:31:01 Karan Takhar
00:31:19 Will Hackman
Yeah, you know, I was thinking about that thanks when Grant was mentioning that whole. You know, there are so many different polls that you can talk about when it comes to how people feel about climate change, and there are questions about, you know, would you support taking some sort of federal action on climate change, or do you feel alarmed on climate change? One of the things that the few Research Center asks people, and they asked this question last year, is whether or not American adults feel that climate change is affecting their local community, and to me that is a better reflection of how people really see climate change impacting them in their lives and communities. It's not so much a, do you believe that there should be some sort of governmental response, or do you know it makes it more clear? Do you see climate change affecting your local community? And it found that only 57% of American adults believed a great deal or some that climate change was affecting their local community. So yes, that is the majority, and we can talk about 57% or 70%, which is the majority.
00:32:28 Will Hackman
But when you break it down by party affiliation is 32% of Republicans in 78% of Democrats. So, and I, I believe with any national polling, we always have to show the partisan breakdown, because you know that really still shows the reflection of nearly half the country being opposed to many of these things, and I think that reflects itself in the policy that we're trying to create. Certainly, we're talking about the largest policy that may pass very soon ever in the United States on climate change, and that's a huge win. But it's really as Tappen and others Convention, it's really just the tip of the iceberg with what is needed. As time goes on, it's a great first step; It's going to create the framework that we need. I'm feeling very optimistic; we should be all feeling very optimistic about this moment that we're in right now.
00:33:28 Will Hackman
But so many more changes are going to need to happen in a very short amount of time as we move forward from year to year, and we really have to solve this problem of political identity. You know, identifying with the issue of climate change in your life, in your community, and a much more personal and direct way, and I think we still have a lot of work to do as activists and advocates for climate change combating climate change. We still have a lot of work that needs to get done that we need to make sure we're not overlooking. So that's a long way of asking Grant his thoughts on that as well. Would love to hear you, the doctor.
And yeah, it's true. I mean, initially, my first thought was, hey, if 57% was a presidential election, would call in a landslide. But yeah, I mean, there definitely is a really big partisan split here, which is unfortunate reasons for that are very complex, and we don't, I don't think. We have time to dive into it all, but part of my immediate thought on that is, you know, I have a background coming from working in rural spaces. When I was in Graduate School, I did a lot of work as an undergrad as well. I did a lot of work out in rural spaces looking at installations of wind energy in world space the development of solar in those spaces, agricultural production and beef production, and how environmental issues were impacting those kinds of economic activities. And so you know I Have a lot of experience, being out, especially in the rural Midwest and parts of the South and talking with people.
And it's really, It's always really interesting to get somebody's point of view that you can tell is being informed by the political environment that they have either self-selected or socially selected into But at the same time, realize that they have a grasp of the problem. So to give an example, I was at a wine bar one time which was run by a guy that owned a local binary serving, you know, his own wine, and I was sampling and getting into a conversation with him about what I did. And at one point, he said something to the effect of, well, we all know that climate change isn't real, but I've got to say things have been different from what they were 20 or even ten years ago, and my immediate thought was, wow, so I mean you absolutely get it. You see 'cause he was talking about, you know, changes in precipitation patterns talked about changes in temperatures, how that was affecting his grape harvest, how that was, you know, even affecting like the tour of the wine, right? Like it tasted different than he remembered, or is he able to compare if he had you know older vintages of the same variety, so he sees the impact he sees the change, but there's this dramatic disconnect where he sees climate change as a political issue, that's not a part of his camp, that's that's, uh, them, that's a daily thing, that's the out-group, that's not something that we do, that's not something we believe it.
But at the same time, sees the problem, and so there's a bit of a messaging issue, and it comes, it sort of comes both from the well the methods of addressing it are both from the top down and the bottom up. There are a lot of good grassroots efforts and outreach in trying to pull more conservative-leaning people into the climate camp and having them discuss and converse how climate change threatens things they hold dearly that people in more urban spaces may not really register. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with people that are afraid about an inability to pass down a hunting heritage to their children or to younger people within their community because of changes that they see in the environment.
They may not chalk it up to climate change, but again, they see the change, so there are grassroots efforts in terms of trying to tie a recognition of climate change, those issues. But then there also has to be an effort from the top down and trying to shape the conversation about what leading politicians in these political spaces and political visions are saying and how that informs the thought processes of the people that follow in the footsteps of that political party.
Yeah, Grant, I just have to follow up to say that that's exactly right with building those personal connections; you are finding that person in the community who owns the vineyard and maybe doesn't like to use the word climate change because it has a political association with it. But can see the changes in his business and in his community and building those direct connections, personal connections is so important, I think, but I just think you're right with elections being able to to be one with 50 + 1, but when it comes to issuing advocacy, I think the bar is much higher. You know you're not gonna reform. gun ownership in the United States or pass all of the climate policies we need or any other issue, unless you've got much greater support, 70 percent 80%, and that really requires that shift that you're talking about.
00:37:52 Will Hackman
Yeah, that shift and then also developing the numbers were because the division of political power in the United States doesn't split evenly or in the same proportion as the population does. Having that split where you can have 70 80 90% of people on the left agreeing on something, but if you don't have, if you haven't brought people that are on the right along with you, the reality is that they have an outsized amount of political influence, and so putting in that work to pull them into your camp to make those connections as hard or impossible as it seems sometimes to make those connections at the personal level to really bring them into the conversation, make them feel heard and make them feel valued and that they're contributing to solutions, which is sometimes easier said than done, but it's important to work.
Thank you, Grant. Will it be nice to close with Maybe what we're most excited about with regards to this bill and Tappen? I've been really excited to ask you this question, given your analytical background, are there one or two aspects of the bill that most excite you?
00:39:47 Karan Takhar
00:40:07 Tappen Parker
It's a great question. I think there's a lot to be excited about in the bill. There's not a specific policy that excites me. It is more a broader context of incorporating climate, justice, and equity into the bill and actually seeing this be a very progressive bill in that manner where the tax credits to buy new clean vehicles are meant to go towards Americans earning less than $400,000 a year that there is some consideration to wealth, there is some consideration for which communities need this funding the most, there's also considered to the kinds of jobs this is going to create, so there is almost a Systems thinking approach to this that is not just focused on, OK, How do we? How do we reduce as many missions as we can?
00:41:01 Tappen Parker
But how do we do it accurately? How do we do this in a way where we're not just reducing emissions, but we're also helping the communities that need it most and who are going to be most impacted by climate change? If there is one thing I wish I would have seen more of in the bill, it would have been, how do we protect those communities more with adaptation? But I think this is already a really phenomenal bill for what we've seen, and I think it's in sends those strong signals that we really need to take Equity and climate justice more seriously as we go through.
Will Grant, do you have any closing dots as the next steps in this space?
00:41:39 Karan Takhar
As someone who's involved in advocacy, I have one closing thought, which is always that there's a battle for hearts, minds, and opinions. But I go back to a study that was all that was done by a political scientist at Harvard University named Erica Chenoweth and she looked at the history of political protest movements and how many people within a population need to be involved to have a significant chance of seeing real political change significant and serious. I mean, in a lot of cases, she was looking at, you know, complete revolutionary changes in governments. And she found that it only takes three and a half of the population to be actively engaged in participating in protests to ensure that kind of change in the US that's eleven and a half million people, and so 11 and a half, 12 million is sort of a number I keep in the back of my mind when I'm making connections in conversations with people trying to sort of, you know, raise the number of activists that 12 Million number mark.
It oftentimes requires less people to engage actively with an issue than we think to see very significant change within that space. This is a really, really good starting point, and it's a very good step. As we talked about, there's still more work that needs to be done, and I think that's then where we take the handoff and go to people, go to communities, go to community organizations and to businesses and try to close the rest of that gap.
And maybe I can just close that; you know we haven't talked about some of the things in this bill that are still a little concerning. You know it's not perfect; this is public policy, this is a Negotiation process, it's never 100% of everything that we want, and there are some provisions in this proposal that would expand oil and gas drilling, expand onshore and offshore lease sales that have been put on hold over the last few years. But the nonpartisan energy and climate policy think tank energy innovation model that this bill would reduce 24 times more greenhouse gases would reduce 24 times more greenhouse gases than it would increase emissions even with some of these policies that would expand some fossil fuel development onshore and offshore in the United States. So, there are still so many more things to be excited about and happy about, and let's get this bill passed, and we can fight another day with some of these other proposals that will continue to come out. We're not done with fighting climate change by passing this one bill, but it's incredibly important.
00:43:17 Will Hackman
Thank you all so much. Thank you, Tappen. Thank you, Will, really appreciate it.
00:44:39 Karan Takhar
Yeah, thank you very much for the invite. 00:44:46 Tappen Parker
Thank you for having me.00:44:47 Will HackmanYeah, thank you, guys. Thanks, everybody.
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