Biden calls for made in US energy transition
US president Joe Biden in an address to a joint session of Congress on April 28 stressed the role that the nation’s workforce could play in accelerating energy transition efforts.
Since taking office, Biden has unraveled much of his predecessor’s policies supporting the fossil fuels industry, halting leases for oil and gas drilling on public land and cancelling the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
Touting a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan as a job creator, the president said clean energy jobs would be a boost to an economy expected to see 6% growth this year, which he said would be the sharpest acceleration in 40 years.
“There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing,” he said. “[There’s] no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.”
Biden marked Earth Day, April 22, by expanding US ambitions to cut fossil fuel emissions, calling on the world’s major economies at his virtual Leader's Summit on Climate to get to work.
The US economy, the president said earlier, can halve greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade by embracing the opportunities the clean energy movement presents.
But his counterparts in the Republican Party disagreed with the economic argument. In response to the president’s national address, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican representing the state of Washington and the minority leader of the House energy and commerce committee, said embracing a green agenda would “weaken our economic comeback … and threaten the livelihoods of every American.”
The American Petroleum Institute, a lobby group representing the interests of hundreds of US oil and gas companies, said it agreed with the president’s positions to an extent.
“Too often, the climate debate is focused more on partisan politics than on real solutions,” CEO Mike Sommers said. “A reasonable middle ground exists, and meaningful progress will require both sides working together to advance smart policies for a lower carbon future.”
Like many corporations working in energy, the API has introduced its own proposals for a sustainable future, arguing the solutions to the problems of climate change are market-based.