Every day, the Union of Concerned Scientists and our community of members and partners show that when we stick together, fight for science, and let experts lead the way, we can make meaningful progress on the issues we care deeply about. Here are a few examples of the impact our members helped us achieve this year.
UCS research and advocacy helped secure the passage of the single largest policy investment in climate action in US history. After decades of advocacy for a national plan to address climate change, legislation that invests billions to reduce heat-trapping emissions is now law. The multi-faceted Inflation Reduction Act includes green initiatives such as investing $20 billion to help the nation’s farmers respond to climate change, providing tax credits for businesses and individuals purchasing electric vehicles, and creating a roadmap to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. We’re now putting science to work in its implementation to achieve a clean, green economy and climate-safe future for all.
Thanks to more than a decade of UCS groundwork, Big Oil is finally being held accountable in court and on Capitol Hill. With a letter citing UCS research, the House Oversight Committee summoned the CEOs of BP America, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell (among others) to testify in front of Congress in a series of hearings they titled “Fueling the Climate Crisis: Big Oil’s Disinformation Campaign.” UCS’s work has been critical for taking on Big Oil in the courts as well: UCS studies have been cited in the vast majority of climate accountability cases filed in more than 40 cities, counties, and states suing over climate deception and damages. Our Science Hub for Climate Litigation provides tools and resources to help scientists and other experts understand what research is most needed and how to get involved.
UCS made significant advances for clean air by helping states push through green transportation bills, including the Advanced Clean Cars II rule and Advanced Clean Truck rule to commit to 100 percent new zero-emission vehicle sales and 55 to 75 percent new zero-emission truck sales by 2035. Most notably, we helped California pass the world's first 100 percent zero-emission truck standard, the Advanced Clean Fleets rule. Our research directly influenced regulators to speed up the 100 percent zero emission sales target by four years, from 2040 to 2036.
UCS provided critical advocacy, analysis, and support for state and regional clean energy victories and created a roadmap to show how states can lead an equitable transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. In the Midwest, the region’s power grid operator approved funding that will enable more than 53 gigawatts of new renewable energy to come online over time—enough to power 12 million homes each year. Oregon committed to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2040 and adopted strict heat protections for workers. And in Massachusetts, new 100 percent clean energy legislation will not only reduce emissions from power plants and vehicles but also incentivize cleaner ways to heat and cool homes.
While our work to address the climate crisis is far from over, these victories provide models for future work and are key achievements in our progress toward a clean energy future. UCS will continue leading the way on climate solutions by advocating for scientifically achievable ways to reduce carbon emissions and pushing federal and state policymakers to take strong climate action.