WASHINGTON (Reuters) – National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy told oil and gas industry executives on Thursday that rebuilding the COVID-19-battered U.S. economy was a unique opportunity to invest in a rapid transition to clean energy.
McCarthy was the headliner of the CERAWeek virtual conference, where she presented an optimistic picture of a low-carbon economy based on electric vehicles and renewables for the next four years.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime to reshape our country’s economy and reclaim the supply chain and the jobs we have lost to other countries,” she told leaders of an industry concerned about its role in the future.
“We can’t miss the opportunity now to invest really big in our future,” she said, “because I’m not sure this opportunity will ever happen again, and I certainly don’t want that. a pandemic recurs. “
McCarthy stressed that investing in clean energy and vehicles is more of a goal for the Biden administration than regulation, and said the auto and utility sectors she has met with recognize that ‘a transition is already underway.
She said the US Departments of Energy and Transportation already have resources they can put on the table “that are starting to create … momentum for new ideas and new technologies.”
“It’s really important that this is not just seen as a regulatory challenge,” she said.
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told CERAWeek on Wednesday that she was ready to reactivate her department’s loan program office which has remained largely unused for the past four years and has more $ 40 billion in funds to spur the clean energy transition.
McCarthy said batteries, energy storage, green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture are all technologies that should be invested in and deployed.
Report by Valérie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio