Discussing equity and justice through the IRA

As the first installment of their Climate Justice Series, the Othering and Belonging Institute (OBI) at UC Berkeley held a virtual discussion on the Inflation Reduction Act: Community Benefits and the Global Climate Justice Movement. Praxia Partner’s CEO Joe Recchie was part of a fantastic panel briefing on the expected impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on fossil fuel-dependent communities, what an equity and justice approach could look like in the bill’s implementation, and the lessons for the ongoing global climate justice movement.

The panel consisted of the Climate and Community Project’s Executive Director Johanna Bozuwa, Prosperity Now’s Senior Fellow Sarita Turner, Senior Campaigns Strategist at People’s Action Ann Pratt, and Chief Executive Officer at Praxia Partners Joe Recchie. It also featured OBI Director john a. powell, and Eli Moore, director of OBI’s Community Power and Policy Partnerships Program (CP3).

In the first-of-kind panel series, experts discussed questions such as: What exactly can the Inflation Reduction Act do for my state or neighborhood? How can policy advocates, researchers, and power-building organizations proactively prepare for equitable and community-influenced implementation of the bill? Where does the IRA miss the mark or cause harm? And what must we proactively organize for in future legislation around domestic and global climate justice?

Praxia’s presentation focused on the IRA’s positive impacts on solar deployment and economic development. Joe also examined community impact (read more in this blog post) in legacy cities such as Cleveland. The IRA program can have a major impact on cities throughout the country and focusing capital on this has a tremendous impact on economic development.

OBI writes: “The climate crisis calls for massive public investment that allows for a transition toward renewable energy systems to get us off our collective fossil fuel dependency. We need an investment that repairs the disproportionate impacts on communities where pipelines, refineries, and other polluting infrastructure are strategically placed. The recently passed IRA is one step in this direction. This massive bill includes widespread corporate tax increases and investments that can lower energy costs. Also, IRA sets new standards for quality jobs and lower healthcare and pharmaceutical costs. Clear-eyed analysis and action are needed to implement and distribute these benefits justly and to achieve new policies that meet the scale of our visions.”

About Emily Schnipke

Emily is program manager for Community Building Partners, working on community redevelopment and many other projects. She is two-time graduate of University of Toledo and loves living in the Glass City.