It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

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It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

What Are the Key Climate Investments in the Build Back Better Act?

Get the breakdown on what climate investments are in the BBBA and why it's a must-pass bill to meet President Biden's climate commitments.

Updated: November 4, 2021

The United States House of Representatives has announced that, imminently, it will vote on the Build Back Better Act, which, if passed by Congress and signed by the president, would be the largest-ever investment in climate action in American history. We urge members to vote yes. 

As detailed below, the investments in this bill would constitute a transformational down payment to confront the climate crisis and build an equitable and thriving clean energy economy. The Build Back Better Act (BBBA) would make a massive and essential contribution toward realizing the Biden administration’s commitment of a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. The bill would help address decades of systemic environmental racism and create millions of new good-paying union jobs. It would help ensure that all communities can build back better.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, Evergreen has been fighting to ensure that key climate investments would be included in this legislation. The Evergreen Action Plan, as well as the Clean Jumpstart and Clean Jumpstart 2021 reports that Evergreen published with Data for Progress, laid out those priorities, and Evergreen has conducted targeted advocacy to realize as many of the investments as possible. With the House of Representatives slated to vote on the Build Back Better Act, here’s an update on some of the most important climate investments we are tracking in the package, and why they matter:

  • Clean Energy Tax Credits: The Build Back Better Act includes a robust package—roughly $300 billion—in tax incentives for clean electricity, electric vehicles, clean buildings, advanced energy manufacturing, industrial decarbonization, and more. As Evergreen has explained, these investments are essential for meeting the president’s climate commitments and for jumpstarting crucial American industries that will form the backbone of a more just and sustainable clean energy economy. Many of these incentives are also structured in a way that makes them more accessible, through a direct pay mechanism or as refundable credits. And they are designed to support good-paying union jobs building American-made electric cars and renewable energy projects, and to drive greater investments into disadvantaged communities. By supporting a wide range of existing and emerging technologies, these credits can transform the American economy to drive new economic opportunities and reductions in climate pollution from the electricity, transportation, industrial and buildings sectors.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (aka Clean Energy Accelerator / Green Bank): Funded at $29 billion, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will support both independent non-profit financial institutions with a mission of providing vital low-cost financing for clean energy infrastructure projects, as well as state, local, and tribal programs that invest in clean energy and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. As explained in Evergreen’s Clean Jumpstart 2021, this fund will build upon and reinvest in the proven and job-creating success of state and local green banks throughout the country. The Fund also includes a guarantee that at least 40% of the benefits of these investments will flow to disadvantaged communities, in line with the president’s Justice40 commitments. 

  • Civilian Climate Corps: A 21st century Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) will harness New Deal era ambition to put Americans to work tackling the climate crisis in their own communities. With a $15.2 billion investment flowing through the Corporation for National and Community Service, $4.2 billion through the Department of Labor, and additional funds throughout the bill creating projects that CCC members can work on, the BBBA will help jumpstart nationwide climate workforce mobilization by putting 300,000 Americans to work with a living wage and benefits, and preparing them for good-paying careers in the clean economy.
  • Environmental Justice: President Biden campaigned on delivering “the most ambitious environmental justice agenda ever” and the BBBA includes important investments to help him deliver on that promise. The bill invests directly in many priorities identified by environmental justice leaders. In particular, the BBBA directs $3 billion for community capacity building and pollution reductions through Environmental & Climate Justice Block Grants, $9 billion for lead remediation, $3 billion to reduce air pollution at ports, $50 million for air pollution monitoring, and $65 million to help collect data on which communities face the most disproportionate harm from environmental injustice and systemic burdens. The BBBA framework also contains considerable investment, $150 billion, in affordable housing and community needs. And in addition to these direct investments, the bill demonstrates a commitment to Justice40, President Biden’s initiative—for which Evergreen has advocated since its inception—to target at least 40% of the benefits of clean investments into disadvantaged communities.

  • Clean Buildings: Electrifying buildings provides a huge opportunity to save Americans money, create jobs, and reduce harmful air pollution in the places where people live and work. To seize those opportunities, the BBBA invests roughly $12 billion in consumer rebates—including carve-outs for low- and middle-income households—split between programs for electric appliances and whole-home energy efficiency retrofits. The bill also includes $2 billion for electrification and efficiency improvements for affordable housing. All of these investments will make American homes and businesses cleaner, more affordable, and climate-ready.

  • Clean Transportation: The BBBA contains major new investments in clean cars, and builds upon the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act’s investments in cleaner forms of transportation, like transit, rail and micro-mobility. Cars and trucks are the most climate-polluting part of the transportation sector, which is the most climate-polluting sector in the US economy, responsible for nearly 30% of emissions. The BBBA makes significant investments to change that, as well as to advance American leadership in the 21st century race for the global market for clean cars. In addition to the tax credits to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) for individual consumers and for commercial fleets, the BBBA also includes funds to help replace polluting heavy-duty vehicles, create charging stations for EVs across the country, kickstart government purchasing of clean vehicles, and to further advance innovation and domestic manufacturing of clean vehicles. This includes $5 billion to replace polluting heavy-duty vehicles with clean vehicles, especially in Clean Air Act nonattainment areas, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); resources for state, local and tribal governments, and the US Postal Service, to deploy EV charging infrastructure; and $3 billion and $3.5 billion for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program and Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grants program, respectively. These are all vital EV investments for which Evergreen has advocated. In addition, the BBBA includes $10 billion for public transit, $10 billion for passenger rail improvements, a new electric bike (e-bike) tax incentive, and new programs driving community transportation access and pollution reductions.

  • Clean Electricity: In addition to the robust suite of clean electricity tax incentives—which include 10-year extensions of renewable energy investment and production tax credits, with a direct-pay mechanism—the BBBA further contains a range of investments that will help transform the power sector and lay groundwork towards achieving President Biden’s commitment to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. Achieving 100% clean electricity is the linchpin in economy-wide decarbonization. And these investments track closely with the recommendations put forward in the Roadmap to 100% Clean Electricity by 2035 report published by Evergreen and Data for Progress in early 2021. They include over $10 billion in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans and grants for rural communities to invest in renewable energy, storage and energy efficiency and shift to cleaner electricity generation portfolios; $40 billion in DOE loan guarantee financing for innovative clean energy projects, unlocked with $3.6 billion to cover the costs of credit subsidies; and $2 billion and $800 million, respectively, for DOE programs that support the construction of new high-capacity transmission lines and interstate siting of transmission.

If passed by Congress and signed by the president, the Build Back Better Act would be the largest-ever investment in climate action in American history.

  • Industrial Decarbonization: Industrial emissions are responsible for nearly a quarter of US climate pollution, and growing. The BBBA makes important investments in decarbonizing the industrial sector and supporting more clean and competitive domestic manufacturing. This includes a $4 billion investment in the DOE Industrial Facilities Deployment Program targeting technology improvements at energy-intensive manufacturing facilities. It also includes support throughout the bill for “Buy Clean”—preferencing government procurement for contractors who can demonstrate relative advantage in the climate and environmental impacts of their products and processes. This includes funding for EPA programs that support labeling, standardization, and transparency, as well as investments that support agency preference for low-embodied carbon construction materials, such as those supported by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). These investments in industrial decarbonization are complemented by important enhancements that the BBBA puts forward for how the federal tax code supports advanced energy manufacturing and industrial carbon capture. And they’re further complemented by some of the industrial transformation investments offered in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.
  • State, Tribal & Local Climate Leadership: The BBBA would support the ongoing climate leadership of state, tribal, and municipal governments. This includes funding for the DOE State Energy Program; USDOT resources for states to demonstrate transportation greenhouse gas performance improvements; direct investments and complementary financing for subnational governments through the Clean Energy Accelerator; investments in new and existing EPA programs; and funding to help state and local governments adopt modern clean building codes. The BBBA proposes the largest-ever increase in funding for tribal climate programs, including $200 million to unlock $20 billion in loan guarantee financing under the DOE Tribal Energy Program; $400 million in tribal climate resilience efforts; $294 million in tribal electrification programs; and a $3.8 billion DOE electric appliance rebates targeting tribal and low- and moderate-income households. These investments will build upon and help empower further state, tribal and local climate leadership—especially towards 100% clean electricity—that has led the nation over the past decade and more.
  • Making Polluters Pay & Ending Some of Their Giveaways: For too long, the federal government has turned a blind eye to the damage that corporate polluters have caused, indeed continuing to prop up these companies with billions of dollars in subsidies, despite the death, destruction, and misinformation these companies have wrought. The BBBA begins to turn the tide, by reinstating key Superfund taxes that will support the clean-up of the nation’s most polluted areas, creating a program that encourages oil and gas companies to address the methane pollution that is quickly accelerating the climate crisis, clawing back some international subsidies, and reforming many federal leasing and royalty programs that have allowed multinational corporations to ravage public lands and waters for bargain prices, and with no oversight. This includes new restrictions on offshore oil drilling, and important new requirements for oil and gas companies operating on public lands to cover the costs of cleaning up spills or other negative impacts from their operations, including plugging idled wells. 
  • Climate-Smart Agriculture: The agricultural sector is responsible for approximately 10% of US climate pollution, and the BBBA contains major investments in climate-smart agriculture and conservation programs, with an emphasis on improvement of soil carbon, reduction of nitrogen losses, and the reduction or capture of greenhouse gas emissions. These investments include $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), $4.1 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), $7.5 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and $1 billion for USDA research related to climate.
  • Support for Energy Communities: Workers and communities that have been historically reliant upon fossil fuel industries have been whipsawed by corrupt corporate executives who abuse bankruptcy procedures and taxpayers bailouts to pad their own pockets and shed obligations, and by a continuous yet inconsistent transition to the clean energy economy. In the BBBA Congress makes key investments to support these communities, including $5 billion for the Department of Energy’s Energy Community Reinvestment Financing Program, and $1.68 billion for the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, focused on energy and industrial transition communities. The bill also contains funding for the Department of Labor to invest in supporting workers in energy and other important industries.
  • Healthy Forests and Land Conservation: America’s forests, public lands, waters and other precious natural resources are both at risk from, and provide major opportunities to mitigate against, accelerating climate change. The BBBA makes major investments in healthy forests and land conservation. This includes $17.1 billion for national forest restoration and fuels reduction, through the U.S. Forest Service, plus $6 billion for non-federal land, $1.25 billion for a state and private forestry conservation program, and $2 billion for investments in Department of Interior (DOI) National Parks and public lands conservation and ecosystem restoration.

 

Congressional Democrats must swiftly deliver the BBBA to the president's desk. This is our moment to take on the climate crisis, and to build a better future.

The Build Back Better Act can be a turning point in America’s fight against the climate crisis—but only if Congress passes it. After decades of inaction, the historic investments in this agenda could build unprecedented momentum for America’s clean energy transition and boost the Biden administration’s efforts to fulfill its necessary and ambitious climate goals. For our best chance at a thriving clean energy future, Congressional Democrats must swiftly deliver the BBBA to the president's desk. This is our moment to take on the climate crisis, and to build a better future.