Despite the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark piece of pro-climate legislation, the make-up of the government as decided by the midterms will shape how its implemented. In these midterms Democrats kept the Senate, but narrowly lost the House of Representatives.
An important aspect of the outcome from these midterms is that climate-friendly Democrats maintain the ability appointing to federal judges who will rule to protect the environment. This is especially wanting after the disastrous judges appointed by President Trump. A Democratic senate also ensures that the bulk of the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act), including major subsidies for green energy as well as a commitment to a reduction in GHG emissions of up to 40% by 2030, will be implemented more smoothly. However, that’s not likely to happen without major pushback from Republicans.
This pushback will most likely take the form of investigations, and hearings criticizing the investments made by the Biden administration. Recently the upcoming chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash) referred to the IRA as “Solyndra on Steroids” referencing the failed solar startup that lost millions in tax dollars. On top of this a Republican House likely means that we won’t be seeing climate legislation as potent as the IRA anytime in the next two years.
Another positive outcome of these midterm elections was the number of pro-climate governors put into office. Two notable governors elected were Maura Healey in Massachusetts who sued ExxonMobil for deceptive business practices when she was attorney general, and Gretchen Whitmer who strongly opposed the Line 5 oil pipeline. Governors like these are good news for the implementation of the IRA which hinges on the attitudes of state officials. State governors are also important with a view toward supporting and achieving clean vehicle, and energy goals.
Read more about what the midterms mean for climate action: