This Earth Day, ACORE is Urging the Biden Administration’s Commerce Department to Correct Course so Climate Progress Can Continue
By Alex Hobson
There has never been a more important time to rally in defense of our planet than now. The 52nd Earth Day comes mere weeks after a landmark report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identified that “without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.” But while the scientists outline the doomsday scenarios that will result from inaction, they also make clear that we have tools at our disposal today that can limit warming and secure a livable future for generations to come. Renewable power is an indispensable solution to the climate crisis.
Renewables now account for over 21% of U.S. electricity generation, up from just 9% in 2002. Breaking that down further, this equates to 260 gigawatts of low-cost clean energy deployed on our grid. In 2021 alone, there was enough wind and solar capacity added to reliably power nearly 10 million homes. This impressive growth has resulted in jobs for over 516,000 Americans in all 50 states. But the data is clear, we can’t rest on our laurels. If we’re to successfully meet our scientifically driven climate objectives and avert the worst impacts of climate change, the percentage of emission-free power on the grid needs to accelerate even faster.
Unfortunately, in this urgent hour, the Commerce Department has decided to bring America’s booming renewable growth to a screeching halt with a baseless “circumvention inquiry” that threatens the imposition of retroactive tariffs on key solar energy components. The cloud of uncertainty shrouding the solar market has led to a dramatic and immediate decrease in clean energy deployment here in the United States, with devastating layoffs sure to follow. How are businesses expected to invest in solar projects when the costs are unknowable and could more than double without notice?
With a stroke of the pen, the Commerce Department has singlehandedly undermined years of progress toward its own administration’s economic and climate objectives. On this Earth Day, we’re calling on the Biden administration to correct course. Rather than paralyzing the American solar sector, undermining one of the country’s fastest-growing sources of new jobs, the administration should focus on enacting policies that strengthen our domestic supply chain, such as the clean energy tax package currently being negotiated that provides advanced manufacturing tax credits and long-term tax incentives for solar power.
This is our last best chance to address the climate crisis, and to do so efficiently and effectively, we need this investigation to end so the renewable industry can get back to doing what it does best – powering America’s clean energy future.