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Gina McCarthy: Businesses No Longer See Climate Action as Driving Job Losses

Then, we secured the historic Inflation Reduction Act — the most aggressive action on climate in U.S. history. When President Barack Obama took office, there were 500 charging stations nationwide. Now, thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we plan to install 500,000 chargers across the country. Every major automaker signed on to the president’s goal of achieving 50 percent E.V. sales nationwide by 2030, a goal considered laughable just two years ago.

The United States is now becoming a magnet for clean energy innovation and investment. Since President Biden took office, companies have invested nearly $85 billion in manufacturing of electric vehicles, batteries and E.V. chargers in the United States. The U.S. is now on track to triple domestic solar manufacturing capacity by 2024, and in 2021 alone, investors announced $2.2 billion in new funding for offshore wind supply chains.

But make no mistake: We have a long way to go. The task of completely reshaping our economy is daunting, especially in a country as vast and complex as ours.

Take the U.S. manufacturing sector, which produces materials like steel and cement, which are critical to rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. It has relied on a fossil-fuel based system for nearly 200 years, so reshaping the system means ensuring that these industrial workers get the training and resources to build the clean energy economy.

Now, we have a “Buy Clean” initiative, which includes the support of the Steelworkers Union, to leverage the federal government’s procurement power for low-carbon steel, concrete, asphalt and glass. The challenge before us is aligning these massive supply chains, from the buyers to the sellers, in a way that allows us to run faster.

While America has made tremendous progress, we need a harmonized global effort to confront climate change. When I see one-third of Pakistan submerged by extreme flooding, or over 700 million people globally without access to power, I am alarmed by how these basic human challenges of health and wellness will make the transition away from fossil fuels hard. The shift in America is not easily replicated in many parts of the world. And to get where we need to go, we need the entire world to run together.

The road is still long, and progress will be uneven. But as I leave my post in the White House, I am optimistic that America is now poised to lead this decisive decade.

Gina McCarthy is the outgoing national climate adviser and the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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