American Catholics who care about the future of creation are pinching themselves.

It’s not because suddenly the data shows a reduction of the powerful greenhouse gasses causing climate change — their increase is relentlessly continuing.

But Congress — with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote in the Senate — passed the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7. That act, please God, means progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating more jobs.

“It’s a minor miracle that it got passed,” said Dan Misleh, founder of the Catholic Climate Covenant.

The U.S. Bishops welcomed the act. The chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Paul Coakley, says its climate provisions respond to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home.

The act, the largest investment in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. history, also reduces prescription drug costs and establishes a minimum tax on large corporations.

It’s difficult to describe how formidable greenhouse gasses are and how important it is that we reduce emissions. Ice core samples and other means of testing have found carbon dioxide, one of the major greenhouse gasses, to have ranged between 175 and 300 parts per million over the last 800,000 years.

Until now. Carbon dioxide is now at 412 ppm.

Greenhouse gasses have, over the millennia, kept Earth habitable, neither too hot nor too cold. They have, on average, made the planet 60°F warmer than it would be without them.

But we are playing with fire with this level of increase, which has already worsened hurricanes, droughts, fires, extinctions, flooding, heat waves and more.

We should all be grateful for this “minor miracle.” Let’s keep working for a major miracle, for our grandchildren’s sake.