The real climate struggle hits in 2022
The transition to an all-electric life—no more gas stoves or water heaters—will also create jobs. One estimate estimates that the IRA will generate nearly a million each year over a decade. These will serve both red and blue zones: Rural areas may have wind or solar farms that need construction and maintenance, while greener urban areas have more. buildings need better insulation and heat pumps. “What a great opportunity for us to create jobs that will be highly skilled, well-paid labor that cannot be easily outsourced,” says Foley. “You can’t insulate your attic from China.”
In an increasingly polarized America, a green economy benefits politics as a whole. The midterm elections in November show how serious American voters are about climate change. Democrats focus largely on the end of the fish eggsto be sure, but What about the climate?with candidates like Nevada senator Catherine Cortez Masto and the governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer run—and win—in this regard. “You can see that it doesn’t generate any backlash in the polls,” says Stokes. “Voters really care about this.”
Meanwhile, European countries are racing to design own climate changelargely thanks to Russia cutting back on gas shipments after Invasion of Ukraineand come Explosion off the Nord Stream 1 and 2 . pipelines between Russia and Germany. (For example, Germany has pledged this summer to 20% reduction in gas usageand in Poland, the installation of heat pumps—which quadrupled since 2017—acceleration after the invasion.) “When it gets cold—January, February, for example—that’s going to be a problem,” said Philip Webber, president of Scientists for Global Responsibility. , who studies UK housing efficiency and other collision of the Ukrainian war over the energy system.
some That response was given by the government, such as negotiating gas deals with other suppliers, promoting solar energy production, and limiting energy use in public spaces. Some of the cuts come from industry, both in factories and office towers. But as in the US, much of this conservation work is focused on households. In March, the International Energy Agency announced a 10 point plan to remove the European Union from Russian gas, and four of them are aimed directly at consumers: lowering energy prices, increasing energy efficiency in buildings, shutting down thermostats and, yes , install heat pump.
But not all energy-focused funding efforts are successful. In November, when its energy system goes down plunge into crisisUK government announced it will spend $7 billion to make housing more energy efficient. Houses in the UK are infamous leakmeans everyone must use more energy for heating, while energy costs are rising and supplies are dwindling. (And Burn more wood to heat the house not a sustainable solution.) However, that $7 billion won’t come until 2025, after the next UK general election in May 2024, as Labor politicians look ahead to climate can take power and enact much more ambitious low carbon plan anyway. They are calling 70 billion USD—Ten times—just to insulate the house for the next decade.
Heat pumps and better insulation are clearly unattractive solutions—and they’re still not distributed well enough to stave off cold winters for people in places hardest hit by the energy crisis. . But they are absolutely important in the future. While the events of 2022 have provided plenty of momentum, Webber said, it’s a transition that will take some time—and will be well worth the effort. “Even if you don’t care about climate change, you’ll feel more comfortable and use less energy,” says Webber. “I think it’s about modernizing your standard of living as much as anything else.”