Why Wisconsin 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 polultion. Not only are Wisconsinites demanding climate action now, with 73% of registered voters supporting Congressional action on climate change, they are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. Currently, more than 200,000 people are at risk of inland flooding and 130,000 Wisconsinites are especially vulnerable to extreme heat, demonstrating precisely why Congress must act now and pass the Inflation Reduction Act to secure Wisconsin’s future. Here’s why Wisconsinites need the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act now: 

Voters in Wisconsin want solutions to the climate crisis.

Investing in clean energy means jobs for Wisconsin.

  • In 2021, Wisconsin was home to 71,370 clean energy jobs, including 6,529 jobs in generating renewable electricity, 2,186 jobs in energy storage, 56,241 jobs in energy efficiency, and 6,037 jobs in clean vehicles. 
    • The Department of Energy’s 2022 Energy and Employment Report found that 5,824 Wisconsin 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 16,897 jobs in Wisconsin per year over a 5 year period.

Wisconsinites are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

  • From 2011 to 2021, Wisconsin experienced 22 billion-dollar extreme weather events that caused more than $120.9 billion in damages and 388 deaths.
  • The Great Lakes have been experiencing blooms of toxic algae as a result of pollution runoff, driven by heavy rains, which feeds the algae that thrive in warming water temperatures. 
  • Currently, 200,000 people are at risk of flooding in Wisconsin. Flooding is becoming increasingly worse in Wisconsin, with the region from Port Washington to Sheboygan to Fond Du Lac seeing its worst rain events increase by over an inch since 1960. Climate change is projected to bring more extreme storms to Wisconsin, heightening the risk of severe flooding.
  • In 2020, Wisconsin saw its first cyclone on record when Tropical Depression Cristobal crossed over Lake Superior, causing more than 10,000 power outages across the state. 
  • In May 2022, golfball to baseball-sized hailstorms caused $1.2 billion in damages to homes, vehicles, businesses, and other infrastructure across western Wisconsin and south-central Minnesota. 
  • On May 11, 2022, La Crosse and Milwaukee set record high temperatures at 88 and 86 degrees. In May 2022, Madison saw three days in a row with temperatures over 90 degrees. 

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

  • Climate change is estimated to cost Wisconsin $5,178,650,000 a year by the year 2100. By 2025, cities along the Great Lakes basin could face almost $2 billion in damage from climate change, including flood damage, unpredictable lake water levels, and changes in precipitation and evaporation rates.
  • By 2050, the number of extreme heat days Wisconsin experiences annually is projected to jump from 10 to 100. 
  • By 2050, Wisconsin is projected to see the severity of widespread summer drought increase by 145%, with potentially devastating impacts on the state’s agriculture and dairy industry. Climate change is projected to cause a 9.75% loss in crop yields in Wisconsin, including a 24% loss in grains, and as temperatures rise, the state’s $45.6 billion cattle and dairy industry is at risk.

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

  • A 2022 study found that people of color in Wisconsin are more likely to be exposed to harmful air pollution than white people, creating the third-largest disparity in the country. People of color in Wisconsin are exposed to 44% percent more particulate matter pollution from industrial sources, with Black residents exposed to 67% more pollution.
  • Indigenous communities in Wisconsin continue to fight to shut down the dangerous reroute of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. Enbridge Line 5’s proposed reroute would go through Wisconsin, endangering the Tribal lands of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. As of February 2020, the line carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids per day from Lake Superior to Sarnia, Ontario. 
  • Wisconsin has the highest number of lead lines per 100,000 people. About 67,000 of Milwaukee’s 164,000 water service lines are made out of lead as of December 2021. There are approximately 70,000 residential lead pipes in the city that deliver unsafe drinking water to Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities, and lead poisoning disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic/Latinx children.