Thursday, September 22, 2022
Hello, everyone. It is my absolute privilege to be here in Pittsburgh, hosting the first-ever Global Clean Energy Action Forum. And it is such a pleasure to see such a packed house.
We have about 6,300 climate and clean energy champions joining us today and tomorrow, including delegations from 33 countries. All here not just to talk, but to take concrete steps in the march to our clean energy future.
This is about more than debating targets. It’s about implementation and results. About action.
And I’d like to thank Governor Wolf, Mayor Gainey, and our host city, Pittsburgh, for giving us the perfect setting for this event.
If we want to be inspired by all that the clean energy transition can offer, and if we need the confidence to straighten our backs and dig in, then we just have to look around town.
This city, built on coal and steel, is now all-in on growing clean and sustainable industries. In the last century, Pittsburgh was once an industrial city so dirty they had to keep the streetlights on during the day so people could see through the soot and smoke. Then the steel industry collapsed and more than 70% of the steel jobs left, and so did a large swath of the population. But now, Pittsburgh is thriving thanks to smart leadership collaboration, strategic planning and a commitment to clean industry and innovation. It’s a model for reinventing and revitalizing communities.
Communities in so many of our countries are facing similar transitions—industrial transitions, energy transitions. There’s a lot we can learn from Pittsburgh.
At this Global Clean Energy Action Forum, we’ll work to scale the Pittsburgh model and speed the clean energy transition worldwide.
And it arrives at a crucial moment in time.
Because over the course of this year, the world has come to appreciate the value of the clean energy transition on a deeper level.
Vladimir Putin has shown autocrats everywhere that the world’s overreliance on fossil energy can be weaponized against us.
Just as he underestimated Ukraine’s ferocious resolve, though, he underestimated the international community’s commitment to our clean energy future.
Now, we see that more than just the key to solving climate change, the clean energy transition—making each of our nations energy secure by deploying our own clean energy—could be the great peace project of our time.
And so even as we have grappled with COVID-19’s lingering effects on global supply chains, even with the pressures Russia has put on Europe and global energy markets, and the calls from cynics and opportunists to retreat to long-term fossil fuel investment, we are collectively on track to install a record amount of clean energy capacity this year, surpassing 300 gigawatts.
The peace project is rolling on.
There are great challenges still ahead for this project. While 300 gigawatts in a year is historic, our net-zero ambitions demand that by 2030, we need to be adding more than 600 gigawatts of solar alone.
But our transformation is happening faster, and creating opportunities larger than anyone expected.
Today, some 40 million people worldwide work in clean energy-related jobs.
By decade’s end, they’ll be part of a market opportunity that will have reached at least $23 trillion, with no signs of slowing.
And I’m proud to represent an administration that has finally moved the United States to invest in that market opportunity.
Under President Biden’s guidance, we have passed the largest climate law in our history.
And I know that history hasn’t been particularly impressive.
But this is. This is a game-changer. Especially in the context of the rest of the President’s agenda.
All told, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will get the United States investing over half a trillion dollars in clean energy and climate action over the next decade.
This agenda breathes new life into America’s clean energy industries, injecting the long-term certainty our private sector needs to nurture a growing market.
It builds new supply chains, so that we and our allies can produce the raw materials that make up the guts of clean energy technologies, in responsible and reliable ways.
And it bets big on our ability to innovate, unlock breakthroughs in next-generation technologies, and make clean energy far more affordable for people all over the world.
Today, I get to make a bit of news with you regarding that last piece.
After much anticipation, we are issuing a funding opportunity of up to $7 billion to support up to 10 clean hydrogen hubs to form the backbone of the U.S. clean hydrogen economy.
These hubs will be located in different regions across the country. They will use a variety of feedstocks—abated fossil fuel, renewables, nuclear. And they will focus on different end-uses—electricity generation, industrial production, residential and commercial heating, transportation.
We’re also rolling out our National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, which found that by 2030, the country’s clean hydrogen market may be twice as large as previously projected.
Our team is eager to hear input on the Roadmap, and to see proposals for the hydrogen hubs.
Of course, the investments in the President’s agenda may fund efforts within the United States, but the impacts will reverberate far beyond our borders.
Because innovation and progress anywhere will clear the way for lower costs and faster transitions everywhere.
Our task now is to find ways to work together, with allies around the world, to enhance and expand those impacts. Our task is collaborative implementation.
This is the core idea animating this Global Clean Energy Action Forum.
Collaboration—not only between nations, but with businesses, labor, academia, philanthropy.
Not on text and targets. But on collective action.
Collaboration to align our efforts and our resources, and to drive innovation and deployment as far and fast as possible.
By working together, we can reach a tipping point at which, rather than chasing our targets, our targets will begin chasing our progress.
That’s why I’m asking all of you to help us meet the Clean Energy Technologies Demonstration Challenge.
President Biden launched the Challenge in June, after the International Energy Agency outlined the need for $90 billion in public investment for clean energy demonstrations this decade in order to achieve our net-zero ambitions.
These projects will help us make the critical technologies that will power this transition more affordable and accessible in every pocket of the world—and make our clean energy future more equitable.
Those of you who have committed to the Challenge already, I thank you. And those who haven’t—help us meet this challenge before Friday is through. Come talk to me or members of my team about how you can contribute.
This is about confronting climate change and defanging villains like Putin, yes.
But it’s also about lowering costs and improving standards of living for our people.
It’s about cleaning up our air and our water, and raising the health of our communities.
And it’s about creating countless good-paying jobs that will be in demand for decades to come.
We can seize those opportunities with the group we have gathered here in Pittsburgh.
Look around you. You are among some 6,300 of the brightest minds in the clean energy community, with the boldest visions and firmest commitments.
And you are in this open space that invites collective imagination and collaborative action.
There is no back room at this Forum for negotiations. The tens of thousands of conversations you are having—those hold the key to our success.
So over the next day and a half that we have here in the Steel City, I want us all to imagine a world modeled after the Pittsburgh transformation, powered by clean energy.
Imagine a future of greater energy security, greater economy security, and stronger bonds between nations.
And I want us to ask each other—what can we do right now to reach that future?
Let’s spend our time here in Pittsburgh finding new opportunities for collaboration with new partners, and challenging each other to keep reaching. I’m proud to be a warrior in the trenches with you in our fight to combat climate change, and in the process, just maybe, bring peace to our world.