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

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

Turn on the evening news and it becomes immediately clear that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change. Extreme heat and drought are affecting tens of millions of people as floods and wildfires ravage communities from Appalachia to California. In the coming days, Congress will have an opportunity to address the climate crisis while strengthening our nation’s energy security, creating opportunities for business, and improving the lives of Americans. We can’t afford to miss out.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 may be the single most important piece of climate legislation in American history. It represents our best chance to build a cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy future. Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia deserve a lot of credit for reaching this agreement, as do countless others. Many business leaders and activists I’ve met through Breakthrough Energy, the climate organization I founded in 2015 to accelerate the clean energy transition, have worked tirelessly for decades for this moment. But while it looks like the legislation will pass, success isn’t guaranteed, so it’s important to keep pushing for it. Let me explain why.

Many of the technologies we will need to achieve net-zero emissions do not exist, are in early stages of development, or are still too expensive to scale up. At the same time, more mature technologies such as solar, wind and electric vehicles need to be deployed more quickly in more places. Through new and expanded tax credits and a long-term approach, this bill will ensure that critical climate solutions provide sustainable support for new industry development.

These incentives will also provide confidence to the private sector to invest in the long term. This legislation will begin to transform the parts of our economy that are hardest to decarbonize, such as manufacturing, which we must do to achieve net zero emissions. As many Americans face summer blackouts, power shortages, and high electricity bills, these funds will help build a modern, reliable power grid so everyone has affordable, abundant, and clean energy.

With those incentives and investments, this bill will catalyze a new era of American innovation. America’s capacity for innovation in universities and industry is second to none, but the country risks being left behind as other nations race to build their own clean energy economies. This legislation will help transform American energy innovation into the American energy industry and unlock enormous economic opportunities in the energy market. If it becomes law, few countries will have the ability to produce clean energy domestically like the United States. America can quickly become a leader in clean energy deployment at the scale required.

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American businesses are ready for this change. I have spoken to corporate leaders who want our government to act. Many have made big climate pledges and invested heavily in clean energy, both because they care about keeping their promises and because it’s good business. Even more businesses are waiting for a strong signal from the government that clean industry is a solid long-term investment. Passing the Inflation Reduction Act will send that message and enable private capital to fuel our clean energy future with greater confidence.

Signed by President Biden, this legislation will begin to jumpstart and support a clean energy industry that could create millions of jobs, many in communities built on fossil fuels. In fact, many of the most promising technologies in the clean energy economy will require similar skills and expertise to those of today’s coal, oil and gas workers. This will help ensure a fair transition.

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

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

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is also the founder of Breakthrough Energy and the author of the book “How to Avoid Climate Disaster”.

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