Since my arrival in Spain, I have been impressed by the strong commitment that the Spanish people have shown to tackle climate change. The United States is also committed to doing whatever it takes to address the urgency of the climate crisis. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden confirmed that the United States would rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. On August 16, President Biden and the US Congress made history and took far-reaching action to address the climate crisis.
By signing the landmark Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, President Biden is now leading the most decisive action the United States has ever taken to create clean energy solutions in the American economy and reduce our carbon emissions.
This law invests $369 billion in clean energy and infrastructure programs and puts the United States on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. It ensures that clean energy opportunities can reach all Americans and lower energy costs. Each family in the United States will save an average of $500 a year on their energy bills by purchasing more efficient appliances, upgrading their home energy systems, and purchasing electric vehicles. Additionally, the law not only supports innovation, resiliency, and access to clean, affordable, and accessible energy, but also emphasizes the needs of those communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened, thereby promoting environmental justice. The law delivers results that create new possibilities for prosperity and security.
This law does more than just put the United States on track to meet its climate goals, which itself has global benefits. It also mobilizes and incentivizes the private sector, including Spanish companies with their strong track record in clean energy, to explore new opportunities and invest in the myriad of sectors affected by this law, including manufacturing, solar power, wind farms, farms offshore and clean hydrogen. The tax credits created by the law will generate tens of thousands of opportunities to create new jobs, including clean energy manufacturing jobs. Next month, the United States will host the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Integration Ministerial in Pittsburgh, a city with a legacy industrial and energy economy that has been transformed into a cleantech and innovation powerhouse. In Pittsburgh, the United States, Spain and 29 other countries will secure new climate commitments through big bets on innovation and provide new opportunities for our industrial workforce with great jobs in clean energy, infrastructure and technology.
Passing this legislation was not easy, but the voice of the majority of the American people, through their elected representatives, was heard, and the United States is now on track to meet its climate goals. At last year’s Democracy Summit, which President Sánchez also attended, President Biden quoted the late US congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis, stating that “democracy is not a state, it is an act.” Through the passage and enactment of this legislation, these democratic acts, we are not only fulfilling our commitments to a global problem, but we are showing the world that democracy can achieve its goals.
In my time working with the President and Dr. Biden in the White House, I have seen firsthand how their focus on the well-being of individual working families motivates the President’s decisions and is critical not just to domestic US politics. , but also for our foreign policy. The president is showing the world that democracy works and can create prosperity and security, not just for a privileged few, but for all citizens. Our next task, therefore, is to convince the rest of the world to take similar steps, not just make promises, to meet our shared climate goals. As we approach the next COP27 meeting in November, the United States will lead this movement with the power of our example, along with Spain, which passed its Climate Change Law in 2021.
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Headlines this summer have been dominated by worrying heat waves and droughts, the spread of wildfires and the challenge of inflation. But by working together, democracies can find the sustainable and practical solutions that our citizens demand. I hope to deepen the alliance between the United States and Spain in climate action to benefit our peoples and our planet.
Julissa Reynoso She is the US ambassador to Spain.
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