How the US South Benefits from Federal Climate Action Funding

Many voters in the American South simply don’t realize how much their elected leaders benefit from federal funding for clean energy initiatives. It is important to make transparent the wealth of funds flowing to the southern states of the United States. That way, voters in the important upcoming midterm elections can better understand how their communities are benefiting from climate crisis initiatives — even if their elected officials are speaking out against Democratic spending.

Democrats have come together and passed the most influential climate change legislation this year with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). One of its tenets is dedicating billions of dollars to creating an American supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs). As the New York Times notes, Republicans and the states they represent stand to benefit from much of the political and economic windfall. Although no Republican member of Congress has endorsed the IRA and, in fact, continues to portray the law as an unnecessary expense, the southern states of the United States, for example, benefit politically from the jobs and the money that electric vehicle and battery factories bring to their districts.

Indeed, states that voted for former President Trump will receive most of the subsidies to promote the production of batteries and raw materials in the United States.

A cleantech reality was unthinkable just a few decades ago. To many people, this still sounds more like science fiction than fact, instilling in those who question the importance of clean energy a reluctance to buy into it. deployment and employment goals — and the benefits are already quite evident in the southern United States.

The continued appeal of fossil fuel rhetoric

Republicans have been drinking the kool-aid of climate crisis denial for a long, long time, of course. At the behest of the fossil fuel industry, they spit out all manner of biased research when accompanied by a strong infusion of campaign finance. The American Petroleum Institute and other fossil fuel industry organizations have waged an extensive disinformation campaign for decades – they have constructed a most refined, accurate and enduring counter-narrative of the climate crisis.

The result is that the world’s 5 largest state-owned oil and gas companies have funded climate crisis denial to the tune of approximately $200 million each year. They knew clearly and did everything they could to dissuade politicians in the southern United States and others from taking climate action as early as 1968. the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet, a rise in the level of the sea, warming oceans and increased photosynthesis.

Additionally, we must remember that the 4 years of the Trump administration ignored science and federal agencies relied on instinct rather than sensible, pragmatic governance. The existential crisis of climate change pressing upon us was subsumed by a leader who was concerned strictly with self-image. Ideology replaced reason under the Trump administration. So much time and energy has been wasted on subterfuge.

Many clean energy advocates are not giving in to the US South’s double talk on clean energy. In fact, an op-ed written on the Electrify the South blog by program manager Dory Larsen claims electrification of transportation is a pro-American solution. Such a perspective presents the EV transition as a patriotic necessity to protect the integrity of the United States. This is just one of many examples of how the American South is reaping the benefits of Democratic-led federal climate funding.

The bursts of change might confuse you unless you remember that power is political – for power generation and the preservation of the legislative seat.

Places in the Southern United States where climate denial and action converge

The Biden administration on Wednesday awarded $2.8 billion in grants to boost domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries in 12 states, half of which are in the southern United States. The federal grants are funded by last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure act and are separate from an executive order Biden issued last spring invoking the Defense Production Act to increase lithium production. and other essential minerals used to power electric vehicles. Eight of the 12 states selected for funding backed Donald Trump in 2020. ‘I was really surprised to find out there were so many socialists in the Republican caucus,’ President Biden joked, repeating a frequent talking point of the GOP on the law.

The incongruity between politics and governance in the southern United States is quite evident in West Virginia, a state where the coal industry provided jobs for generations but also decimated mountains, rivers and forests. arable lands. Today, wind power in West Virginia adds significantly to the state’s clean energy portfolio as the once mighty coal industry declines.

In August, Tritium, the Australian manufacturer of DC fast charging equipment, announced the opening of its Tennessee factory, which will have 6 production lines and employ 500 people. The facility will be able to manufacture up to 30,000 DC fast chargers per year when it reaches full production.

BMW has announced plans to upgrade a plant to produce electric vehicles and build a new plant in South Carolina to assemble batteries. The investment is valued at $1.7 billion in total.

Tesla, Inc. is moving forward with plans to build a lithium refinery on the Gulf Coast of Texas in a bid to better control the electric vehicle battery supply chain. CEO Elon Musk confirmed on a third quarter conference call the progress being made in developing the company’s new 4680 battery cell technology in Texas as well.

An Alabama city council has voted to allow its municipal utility to buy power from a solar power plant under construction. The deal with Toyota Tsusho, part of the Toyota Group, was made possible in 2020 when the city council approved a power supply flexibility agreement that allowed Huntsville Utilities to purchase up to 5% of its electricity from another source other than the Tennessee Valley. Authority.

Final Thoughts on Southern US Climate Initiatives

Think how much healthier our world would be if political conservatives devoted themselves to starting negotiations on climate change policies and trying to streamline new energy to make it more market-oriented – which is still the conservative creed .

Such a consensus would require business models that work in harmony with society and the environment rather than being sucked into hollow mitigations that do little more than pursue the same financial growth trajectories and assumptions. Whichever direction the political winds are blowing, the planet continues on its dangerous warming path as humans continue to burn fossil fuels at an alarming rate. With the catastrophic impacts of climate change looming, governments around the world must implement massive reductions in warming emissions – and the US South must acknowledge its role and acceptance of federal climate funding.

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