How historic climate funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will impact Tucson and Arizonans

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Inflation Reduction Act includes the largest climate action investment in U.S. history: $369 billion. Here in Arizona, scientists say we are continuing to see climate change at the forefront with an increase in heat waves and 20-year mega drought.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero says the Inflation Reduction Act will have a big impact on Tucson as a city, as well as the people who live here.

″It will not only be good for our climate and our economy in creating green jobs, but it will be a good public health measure that will protect communities of color and low-income communities in the city of Tucson,” she said.

She believes it will aid the city in its goal of carbon neutrality and secure Tucson’s future in being climate ready when it comes to heat and drought.

“There’s a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that very specifically targets infrastructure dollars and help for states like Arizona that have been living through a drought for the last 22 years and secures our water future for the future,” she explained.

The bill would slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030. It focuses on changing the heating and cooling of buildings and transportation to renewable energy. Something that climate experts say is critical. It also includes incentives for people to buy electric vehicles: a $4,000 tax credit for a used vehicle and $7,500 for a new one.

“There’s no doubt that taking an economic angle on this is the right way to go. There needs to be incentives to do the right thing. The transition to using renewable energy, to using electric vehicles, it’s really helpful if there’s a financial incentive,” said Kathy Jacobs, Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona.

Jacobs says this is decades overdue, but it’s an enormous step forward. If the bill is signed into law, she says it will still take years to see the effect in our everyday lives.

“So it will take time for the impacts to be felt from this bill, but if we didn’t do this our future is seriously in question,” she said.

She believes everything in the bill will only have a positive impact on Arizonans and Arizona’s climate.

Critics say the Inflation Reduction Act could do just the opposite, and increase inflation, or at best, only reduce it slightly and not for several years.

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