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The Biden administration’s push toward a clean energy future is gaining momentum with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing a $27 billion investment to curb emissions and address environmental injustices. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) is part of the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which is aimed at lowering energy costs for American families and small businesses while accelerating private investment in clean energy solutions. The GGRF intends to leverage private capital for clean energy investments nationwide, with a focus on disinvested communities.
The GGRF aims to target greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging investment in cost-saving rooftop and community solar programs, clean energy, and storage initiatives, with a focus on historically underserved and disinvested communities in alignment with the Justice40 Initiative. The initiative directs that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to communities facing disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts. The EPA is overseeing the GGRF, which is composed of two competitive grant programs.
The first program is a $20 billion competition that will award between two and 15 grants to eligible nonprofits that will partner with community financial institutions, such as green banks, community development financial institutions, and housing finance agencies, among others. The grant aims to accelerate the transition to an equitable, net-zero economy and boost job opportunities in the energy sector.
The second program, the $7 billion Zero-Emissions Technology Fund, will award up to 60 grants to eligible states, tribes, municipalities, and nonprofit entities to create opportunities for disadvantaged communities and groups to gain access to clean, affordable, resilient solar energy.
Environmentalists and climate justice advocates have cautiously welcomed this federal clean energy investment, stressing the need to ensure that public funds reach deserving communities and address systemic injustices baked into energy and financial systems. The GGRF is a good start towards tackling environmental injustices, and it is vital that the EPA includes strong reporting and accountability requirements in its eligibility guidelines to ensure that the selected fund recipients meet the needs of communities as well as greenhouse gas reduction goals.
While the GGRF is a significant move in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done. The funding should go to the communities most impacted, and this is where we can all help. As individuals, we can Support community advocacy organizations and local initiatives that work towards sustainable and equitable solutions for our environment. We can also take action by urging our elected representatives to Support federal and state funding for clean energy projects and initiatives that address environmental injustices.
This is the time to come together and push for a cleaner and more sustainable future. It is only through collective efforts that we can make a real difference and pave the way for a greener world. Let’s seize this opportunity to protect our environment, fight Climate change, and Support underserved communities.
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!