This Taught Me a Lot About How Decarbonization Is Really Going

This Taught Me a Lot About How Decarbonization Is Really Going


The Inflation Reduction Act was the largest piece of climate legislation ever passed in the United States, setting aside hundreds of billions of dollars for decarbonizing the economy. But the money was always just a first step. The fate of the act’s goals hinges on whether those investments can build the energy system of the future — everything from transmission lines and wind farms to electric vehicle factories and green hydrogen hubs.

It’s now been almost a year since the I.R.A.’s passage. So, how’s it going? Are we on track for a decarbonized economy?

Robinson Meyer is a contributing writer to Times Opinion and the founding executive editor of Heatmap, a new publication covering the ins-and-outs of decarbonization in America. We discuss why estimates of the I.R.A.’s investments vary so drastically, whether the Biden administration is being too timid in how it gives out the money, the collision between the investments we need to decarbonize and the laws intended to protect the environment, why permitting has proved to be such a debilitating obstacle, why red states are projected to attract almost double the I.R.A. investments compared to blue states (and how that could pose a thorny political problem for the Biden administration), whether the country can decarbonize while competing with China and much more.


“Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Clean Hydrogen” by U.S. Department of Energy

“The Greens’ Dilemma: Building Tomorrow’s Climate Infrastructure Today” by J. B. Ruhl and James E. Salzman

Book Recommendations:

The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen

Climate Shock by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman

Shorting the Grid by Meredith Angwin

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This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. The show’s production team includes Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.