**Update: President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure legislation into law on November 15, 2021.
WASHINGTON (November 5, 2021) – “These bills are a turning point that puts the U.S. on a path toward a cleaner future for both people and wildlife,” said Marshall Johnson, acting chief conservation officer at the National Audubon Society. “Our science shows that birds are telling us that we need bold action now to ensure both their survival and ours. We recognize that there is still more to do to meet the challenge posed by a changing climate, but this legislation represents a critically necessary and significant step in the right direction.”
The sweeping infrastructure bill passed by the House today, and the Build Back Better Act that was advanced forward, both contain critical funds for a cleaner future. While funding levels for some programs remain lower than what is needed to truly address the threat presented by a changing climate, and while there were missed opportunities for either an economy-wide price on carbon or a Clean Energy Standard, there are enough meaningful investments in the bills to build upon. While the bipartisan infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate, we urge that the Build Back Better package be voted on by both the House and the Senate with no further delay.
The two landmark bills contain important funding for initiatives that will curb carbon pollution, build the climate resilience of communities, and lay the foundation for cleaner energy systems. Provisions include:
- the extensions and expansions of clean energy tax credits, along with funding for electricity transmission and demonstrations of new technologies, which will drive significant emissions reductions in the power sector,
- investments in clean transportation technologies like batteries, charging stations, and green hydrogen that will help decarbonize the transportation sector,
- funding for orphaned well clean-up and a fee on methane emissions,
- funding for a Civilian Climate Corps, to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers,
- funding to build climate resilience through investments in coastal and water resilience, including response to drought, hurricanes and other extreme weather,
- canceling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil and gas leasing program and nullifying existing leases, and
- funding for climate smart agriculture and forestry to support natural climate solutions.
“We look forward to ensuring that the programs in these bills are implemented as intended, and to continue to work to protect and restore natural landscapes that provide habitat to wildlife while also protecting communities from climate threats like sea-level rise, flooding, drought, and wildfires,” said Johnson. “There is much work left to do, but the resources provided by these historic bills will help give us the momentum we need to make real progress against climate change.”
A 2019 Audubon report found that two-thirds of North American bird species will be vulnerable to extinction unless global temperature rise is slowed. A survey of public and private lands showed significant overlap between the places that are important for birds’ survival and the ability to naturally store carbon, provided these places are restored and maintained.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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