Why Georgia Needs the Inflation Reduction Act Now

Critical climate and clean energy investments will create millions of good-paying jobs, lower energy costs for families, invest in disadvantaged communities and reduce climate pollution. Not only are Georgians demanding climate action now, with 76% of registered voters supporting Congressional action on climate change, they are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. In 2020, Tropical Storm Zeta alone cost Georgia more than $22 million, demonstrating precisely why Congress must act now and pass the Inflation Reduction Act to secure Georgia’s future. Here’s why Georgia needs the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act now: 

Voters in Georgia want solutions to the climate crisis.

Investing in clean energy means jobs for Georgia.

  • In 2021, Georgia was home to 75,211 jobs, including 9,800 jobs in generating renewable electricity, 4,046 jobs in energy storage, 53,294 in energy efficiency, and 7,633 in clean vehicles. 
    • The Department of Energy’s 2022 Energy and Employment Report found that 8,464 Georgia workers were employed in solar and wind electric generation in 2021. 
  • One report published in 2020 found that even modest federal clean energy stimulus investments could generate 21,912 jobs in Georgia per year over a five year period. Georgia is among the top 10 states in terms of potential jobs that could be created through investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency. The hypothetical investments in that report were even smaller than those in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Georgians are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

  • Currently, Georgia averages 20 extreme heat days annually. Record-breaking temperatures were seen across the state as a heatwave swept the South in June, causing at least four heat-related deaths. Little relief is in sight as NOAA warned of above average temperatures across the state through September.  
  • From 2011 through 2021, Georgia saw 14 hurricanes and tropical storms that caused $237.9 billion in damage and 427 deaths. In 2020, damage from Tropical Storm Zeta in Georgia alone topped more than $22 million.
  • The sea level off Georgia’s coast has risen 11 inches since 1950, and by 2031,  sea levels will have risen another 6 inches. Currently, 100,000 people and nearly 2,500 businesses are at risk of coastal flooding in Georgia.

If we do nothing, it will get worse for communities across the state and cost billions of dollars.

  • Climate change will cost Georgia $34.2 billion annually by the year 2100. Climate change is projected to cause a 11.6% loss in crop yields in Georgia, including a 44% loss in oil crops (soy, rapeseed, palm, and sunflower), and a 24% loss in grain crops.
  • By 2050, the number of extreme heat days Georgia experiences annually is projected to jump to more than 90, putting even more lives at risk.
  • By 2100, more than 40,000 homes in Georgia at an estimated worth of $13 billion will face flooding. These homes contribute around $139 million in annual property tax revenue.

Climate change and fossil fuel pollution have a disproportionate impact on people of color in Georgia.

  • Georgia is one of the top coal ash-generating states, releasing more than 6 million tons of coal ash annually that causes a myriad of air and water pollution concerns for local communities. People of color and low-income residents are more likely to live near seven of the ten Georgia coal plants where coal ash dumps are within one mile of a residential community. 
  • Fourteen out of Georgia’s 22 EPA Superfund sites are in cities where a majority of the population is Black, and the effects of ozone pollution disproportionately fall on communities of color. In Metro Atlanta, for example, people of color make up an average of 25.4% of the population in low-pollution blocks , compared to an average of 44.2% in high-pollution blocks. That is nearly double the exposure. 
  • Atlanta is the 19th fastest warming city in the United States, and the city is up to 16 degrees hotter compared to rural areas thanks to the urban heat island effect.