Climate Action in the United States: What We've Accomplished in the Past 4 Years

climate government Mar 14, 2024

President Biden and Congress held the State of the Union this weekend, and there has been ample news coverage about it. Everyone from every political party has different commentary about the speech, but we haven’t seen very many people talking about one particular section - climate change.

The State of the Union was about an hour and a half long, but President Biden, the President to pass the largest climate bill in U.S. history, only talked about climate change for 1 minute (literally - we timed it). This could say something about where climate change sits on the priority list for Americans and our government. A Pew Research study last year found that only 37% of Americans say addressing climate change should be a top priority for our government.

As an organization that specializes in training corporate teams on how to tackle the climate crisis, we’re clearly a little biased, but we think that climate change (and better yet climate action) deserves more recognition.

The U.S. is set for a big election this year, and many are anxious to see how the results will turn out. Without getting too political, the presidential and congressional elections will greatly impact the future of climate action in America. 

As the election in November inches nearer and nearer, let’s take a look at what climate progress the U.S. has made in the past few years. 

The Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is the largest climate bill to ever be passed in the history of the United States. Congress and the Biden Administration ratified the IRA back in August 2022, with an estimated $369 bn in climate funding. 

Nearly a year and a half later, the IRA has enabled clean energy projects and green jobs across the country. These include funding for direct air capture hubs, development of ocean technology through NOAA, a new jobs program for young Americans seeking quality work in the climate space, solar and wind tax credits for low-income communities, and much much more.

You can learn more about the over 110 programs funded by the IRA by looking through the guidebook here


Taking a look at the social side of sustainability work, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) was passed in December of 2021 and aims to eliminate imports that come from Xinjiang, China. 

Xinjiang has been in the hot seat for a number of years now due to the overwhelming evidence of ethnic cleansing being enforced on the Uyghur population of the region. To learn more about the backstory of the Uyghur conflict in China, read this article from Vox.

The United States and nations across the EU have worked to limit and stop the importation of goods that originate from the Xinjiang region of China, and the U.S. has dedicated resources to further that effort through the UFLPA. 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection was recently given new technology to better help identify cotton goods that come from Xinjiang through the use of isotopic testing. By the end of the year, the United States hopes to have three isotopic testing labs in Savannah, Georgia, NYC, and Los Angeles. The goal is to better identify goods from Xinjiang and to ultimately drive down the number of imports that come in.

SEC Climate Disclosure Rule

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a new climate disclosure rule in a 3-2 vote. The new climate disclosure rule will require publicly traded companies to disclose both emissions data and climate-related risks to investors. While the win is a major step forward for climate advocates, the rule is scaled back from its original version first proposed back in 2022.

As part of the rule, large and mid-size companies will be required to disclose climate-related risks to investors, as well as disclose Scope 1 emissions. 

The new rule will change the landscape of business in the United States and could set the standard for other states to develop their own disclosure rules (see California’s climate disclosure rule). 

Closing Thoughts

While all of these pieces of legislation are crucial to the sustainability movement, nothing is more important than your participation in government.

No matter your party preference, if you believe in the threat of climate change, head to the polls and make your voice heard. The future of our nation’s role in the climate action movement hangs in the balance, and we need as much support as we can get. 

If you need help registering to vote, follow the resources provided by and please share this link with anyone else who may need help registering. If you’re registered to vote but are unsure of your polling place, please follow this link to help you find your assigned polling location. 

Learn more about the impact environmental voters can have on climate action at the Environmental Voter Project. EVP helps connect environmentalists to the polls to push the climate agenda forward and create further progress in the United States. Share EVP’s work with your fellow environmentalists, and let’s keep the momentum going!

Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next week ✌️

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