opinion | Bill Gates: The future of clean energy is in the hands of Congress

Turn on the evening news and it will immediately become clear that Americans are suffering from the effects of climate change. Extreme temperatures and drought affect tens of millions of people, as floods and wildfires destroy communities from Appalachia to California. In the coming days, Congress has a chance to tackle the climate crisis while enhancing our country’s energy security, creating opportunities for businesses and improving Americans’ lives. We cannot afford to miss it.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 may be the most important piece of climate legislation in American history. It represents our best opportunity to build an energy future that is cleaner, cheaper and safer. Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia deserve a lot of credit for coming to this agreement, as do countless others. I got to know many business leaders and activists through Breakthrough Energy, the climate organization I founded in 2015 to accelerate the clean energy transition, and they have worked tirelessly for decades at this moment. But although it appears that legislation will pass, success is not guaranteed, so it is essential to keep pushing for it. Let me explain why.

Many of the technologies that we will need to reach net zero emissions do not exist, are in early stages of development or are still too expensive to scale. At the same time, more mature technologies such as solar, wind and electric vehicles need to be deployed more quickly to more places. During New and expanded tax credits As a long-term approach, this bill will ensure that critical climate solutions have sustained support to develop into new industries.

These incentives will also provide confidence for the private sector to invest in the long term. This legislation will begin to transform the parts of our economy that are difficult to decarbonise, such as manufacturing, which is what we must do to reach net zero emissions. As many Americans face summer blackouts, energy shortages, and high electricity bills, these actions will help build a modern, reliable power grid so that everyone can have clean, plentiful, and affordable energy.

With these incentives and investments, this bill would catalyze a new era of American innovation. The ability of US universities and industries to innovate remains second to none, yet the country risks falling behind as other nations race to build their own clean energy economies. This legislation will help transform US energy innovations into US energy industries and open up huge economic opportunities in the energy market. If it becomes law, few countries will have the capacity to produce domestic clean energy like the United States. America can quickly become a leader in spreading clean energy on the scale needed.

opinion conversation
The climate and the world are changing. What challenges will the future bring, and how should we respond to them?

American companies are ready for this change. I’ve spoken with corporate leaders who are eager for our government to work. Many have made big climate pledges and invested big in clean energy, because they care about keeping their promises and because it’s a good business. More companies are waiting on the sidelines for a strong signal from the government that clean industries are a solid long-term investment. Passing the Inflation Control Act would send this message and enable private capital to promote a clean energy future with greater confidence.

With President Biden’s signature, this legislation will jump-start and support clean energy industries that could create millions of jobs, many in societies built with fossil fuels. In fact, many of the most promising technologies in the clean energy economy will require similar skills and experience that coal, oil and gas workers possess today. This will help ensure a fair transition.

Solving climate change is perhaps the most difficult challenge humanity has ever faced. It will require a fundamental change in the way we power our communities, move goods, build things, heat and cool buildings, grow food — basically how we do it all. We need to do this quickly with a coherent and coherent plan if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The country has an opportunity to lead by example by offering a vision of what is possible – and then making it happen. By passing this legislation, Congress will mark the moment that, despite the many challenges facing the nation, lawmakers in Washington acted with ambition and foresight to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future. Let’s get it done.

Bill Gatesco-founder of Microsoft, who is also co-founder of energy penetration and author of “How to Avoid Climate Disaster”.