September 15, 2022
Want to Fight Climate Change? Look to Local Politics.
By Lisa Herforth-Hebbert
Since its founding in 2015, the New Haven Climate Movement has used national momentum to create regional change with a model that can be replicated around the country.
In August, Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a reduced version of Build Back Better, that will invest $369 billion in energy and climate. The IRA is poised to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, according to an analysis by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The plan will give Americans tax credits and rebates for purchasing electric vehicles and create millions of jobs to generate and deploy clean energy. According to the White House, “the Inflation Reduction Act will help ease the burden that climate change imposes on the American public.”
These are all positive steps, but the climate crisis can’t be solved by national actions alone. In Connecticut, the New Haven Climate Movement shows just how much local politics still matters. The group recently used national momentum to create regional change, pushing the municipal council to delegate $5 million of its American Rescue Plan funding toward local projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On September 23, as part of the international Fridays for Future strike, the group will rally on the steps of city hall, only a few blocks from the campus of Yale University, demanding expanded climate education and electric transportation in the city.