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Experts press for passage of climate change provisions of Build Back Better bill

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Suzanne Potter

(Nevada News Service) Experts say it's more important than ever to tackle climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and in light of a new United Nations report which warns time is running out.

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned 3.5 billion people around the world are now highly vulnerable to the megafires, droughts, sea-level rise and flooding associated with climate change.

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Shannon Heyck-Williams, senior director for climate and energy policy at the National Wildlife Federation, said it is a matter of life or death for many species.

"An estimated 3 percent to 14 percent of all land species may face a high risk of extinction at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming," Heyck-Williams reported. "A level increasingly looking like a waypoint to more warming than an endpoint, if robust policies are not enacted immediately."

Opponents complained about the price tag of Build Back Better

Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, said Build Back Better's tax credits for clean energy will cut down on deaths from diseases exacerbated by particulate matter in the air.

"These provisions would reduce cumulative premature deaths by 24,000 through 2030 versus current policy," Schneider asserted.

A study by Project Repeat at the Princeton Zero Lab analyzed the impact of the Build Back Better Act's climate provisions and found the bill would cut emissions enough to put the U.S. within close reach of President Joe Biden's commitment to cut emissions in half from peak levels by 2030.

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Jesse Jenkins, principal investigator for the Princeton Zero Lab and co-author of the study, said Build Back Better would also be a huge boost to the economy.

"We find that the investments in the Build Back Better Act would result in approximately two million more net jobs in energy supply sectors in 2030 relative to the infrastructure bill alone," Jenkins pointed out. "Notably, one million of those are in manufacturing, primarily in solar and wind-related component manufacturing."

Marcela Mulholland, political director for the polling firm Data for Progress, said Build Back Better has broad bipartisan support.

"Nearly all Democrats: 92 percent; over two-thirds of independents: 72 percent; and 46 percent of Republicans say it is very or somewhat important for Congress to take action on climate change," Mulholland reported.