Megan Hall: Welcome to Possibly, where we take on huge problems like the future of our planet and break them down into small questions with unexpected answers. I’m Megan Hall. 

Last year, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Despite the name, it actually includes a lot of plans to address climate change.

Last week, we went over the big-picture plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what will these policies mean for you? And when can you start taking advantage of them? 

We had Charlie Adams and Juliana Merullo from our Possibly Team look into this.

Charlie Adams: Hi, Megan!

Juliana Merullo: Hey, Megan!

Megan Hall: So, the IRA is putting more than 300 billion dollars towards climate change efforts. How much of that money will go to everyday people?

Charlie Adams: Well, it includes billions in tax credits and other incentives to make it cheaper for people to use renewable energy, buy electric cars, and make their homes more efficient. 

Megan Hall: Can I take advantage of this money?

Charlie Adams: Yes! Starting this year, homeowners can qualify for a tax credit to cover up to 30% of the cost of making their homes more energy efficient.

Megan Hall: What counts as an energy-efficient project?

Juliana Merullo: It could include renovations like new doors and windows or replacing old appliances, like water heaters, with more efficient ones.

Charlie Adams: But don’t get too carried away; these credits have a $1,200 annual limit.

Juliana Merullo: There are also billions of dollars aimed specifically at helping lower and middle income households rehab their homes.

Megan Hall: What about helping me run my home using renewable energy? Could the IRA help make that more affordable?

Charlie Adams: Yes, definitely! There is a 30% tax credit for installing renewable energy sources- like solar panels to power your house. 

Juliana Merullo: You can use this federal credit on top of certain state tax credits, which could make your projects even more affordable. 

Megan Hall: And how about electric cars? Can I get a tax credit to help me buy one?

Charlie Adams: Maybe? The IRA includes tax credits of up to $7,500 for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles. 

Juliana Merullo: But, to get that money, the car you buy has to meet certain requirements.

Megan Hall: Like what?

Charlie Adams: The car can’t be too expensive. There are price restrictions for new and used electric vehicles.

Juliana Merullo: And you can’t make too much money. The tax credits are only available to people within certain income limits. 

Megan Hall: Got it! But getting people to buy electric cars and replace their old boilers doesn’t seem like enough to make a dent in climate change.

Charlie Adams: Well, remember, there are billions of dollars going to industry and local governments, to address this problem as well. 

Juliana Merullo: The IRA helps us do what we can while providing incentives for larger-scale things like solar fields and wind projects. We can’t get to a better climate future without doing both.

Megan Hall: Ok, but reducing emissions in Florida versus Alaska are two very different challenges for individuals and governments. How much control will states have in this process?

Juliana Merullo: We’ll talk more about that next week. 

Megan Hall: Got it! Thanks, Charlie and Juliana! 

That’s it for today. For more information, or to ask a question about the way your choices affect our planet, go to the public’s radio dot org slash possibly. Or subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Possibly is a co-production of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown’s Climate Solutions Initiative, and the Public’s Radio.

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