The United States territories are amongst the jurisdictions impacted the most by climate change in America. Global warming rapidly increases climate change. This leads to an increase in the length and severity of storms, a rise in sea levels, and a severity in air and water temperatures. The US territories face the economic and environmental damages left behind.
Greenhouse gas emissions are the main source of climate change. The majority of these emissions are caused by transport and energy use. This stresses ecosystems, disrupts weather patterns, and causes widespread food and water shortages. Disrupted weather patterns impact agriculture production and environmental safety. This leads to increased food and supply costs and disrupts jobs. Three out of five US territories rely on tourism as their main source of revenue and employment. Climate change has reduced the number of tourists. It has also degraded secondary revenue sources such as agricultural and industrial sites. Climate change has played a main role in the economic and environmental decline within the territories.
President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law on November 15, 2021. The law is an effort to reduce the impacts of climate change. It highlights the environmental and economic impacts caused by climate change. It also focuses on underserved communities in the US. The law will invest billions of dollars in clean and renewable energy upgrades. This includes upgrades to power and transport infrastructures. The US is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. These investments could reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52%. This would significantly decrease climate change. It would also bring new employment opportunities by upgrading the energy infrastructure. Reducing climate change will improve environmental safety and bring back stable weather patterns. The US and its territories could stand to benefit from these better conditions. Better conditions could bring an increase in tourism. It could also help expand agriculture production and restore industrial sites.
With investments from this law, electric vehicles could be obtainable for public transportation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allowed the EPA to launch the Clean School Bus Program. The program will provide public schools in all 50 states and territories a total of $5 billion over the next five years. This sum will be used to replace old school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. The program could be the next step towards replacing all public school buses with clean energy models. This will reduce a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
On average, the cost of an electric vehicle is $18,000 more than a gas-powered vehicle. Many people in the US stray away from purchasing electric vehicles. This is due to the price difference and the slim network of electric vehicle chargers. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide tax credits to purchasers of electric vehicles. It will also invest in building a broader network of electric vehicle chargers. This may motivate people to purchase eco-friendly vehicles. This could make clean transportation more accessible, especially in underserved communities.
Puerto Rico is one of the US territories that have been greatly affected by climate change. This effect is made greater by Puerto Rico’s unreliable energy infrastructure. Some of the effects of recent hurricanes have devastated the territory. This can be seen through its economic decline and record-breaking blackouts. There is also a drop in the environmental wellbeing of the archipelago. Investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will award Puerto Rico with funding. The funding used will upgrade their power transmission to clean and renewable energy. The upgrades will aim to increase the general welfare and environmental wellbeing. It could also rebuild the territory’s economy. With the investments, the territory may be able to rebuild and recover from the damages caused by climate change.
Many underserved communities struggle with poverty, health issues caused by pollution, inaccessibility to food and water, and unreliable energy. Climate change has worsened these challenges. The general welfare of underserved communities remains out of reach. The investments provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There could also be environmental, social, and economical benefits from that. We may see how transferring to clean energy can reform the economic and social balance of the US and its territories.