WASHINGTON (August 10, 2021)—Today the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation that includes billions of dollars in upgrades to the country’s transportation, energy and water infrastructure. The legislation includes some investments that would help address climate change such as funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, carbon removal technologies and improvements to the electric grid, which are necessary to transport clean energy longer distances.

However, the package does not include the scale of funding required to fully implement President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which could create millions of good jobs across the country while also taking bold climate action. More significant climate-smart investments could be included in a budget reconciliation package in the coming weeks or months. 

WRI analysis finds climate-smart investments can support thousands of clean energy and land sector jobs across the country, especially in rural communities. 

Following is a statement from Dan Lashof, Director, WRI United States:  

“The U.S. Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure package offers a down payment on the fight against climate change, but we can’t afford to mortgage our future. The investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electric school buses, direct air capture and remediating abandoned oil and gas wells offer incremental progress toward a clean energy economy, but they don’t come close to meeting the scale of our climate challenge.

“There are also issues with the legislation, specifically the inclusion of funding for polluting school buses rather than directing all federal school bus funding to capable, pollution-free electric school buses. We urge Congress to target the school bus funding to zero-emission vehicles before final passage and signature. 

“It is now essential for the Senate to pass a budget reconciliation package that takes full advantage of climate-smart infrastructure improvements to retool our economy for the 21st century and create millions of quality jobs in clean energy all across the country. This should include major investments in clean energy, additional funding for electric school buses and electric vehicles, and funding to make schools and other buildings more energy efficient and resilient to the impacts of climate change. 

“The forthcoming reconciliation package could be our best opportunity for advancing climate action this decade. Kicking the can down the road is no longer an option as extreme weather wreaks havoc across our nation and around the world. For the sake of our future and our economy, Congress must deliver.”