DATE: March 2nd, 2022

CONTACT: Erik Mebust, erik@climatepower.us

Washington, D.C. –  In his first State of the Union address, President Biden emphasized that the clean energy we need to reduce emissions is a key engine for the economy. Biden stood before Congress to urge lawmakers to pass “[his] plan to fight inflation,” noting the $500 savings the plan’s clean energy tax credits would bring households. He framed last year’s record growth of 6.5 million jobs as “the revitalization of American manufacturing” that happened because of multibillion dollar investments from companies like Ford and GM who together created over 15,000 jobs in the electric vehicle industry.

President Biden also put his signature domestic policy achievement of the first year, the  bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in the context of finally prioritizing frontline communities: “We’ll create good jobs for millions of Americans, […] And we’ll do it all to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.” It was the first time environmental justice has ever been mentioned in a State of the Union address.

In a letter released ahead of the speech, the leaders of all House Democratic Caucuses met President Biden’s clarion call for passage of his domestic agenda with their own. They wrote “there is broad consensus on the most critical solutions Americans need to lower costs for families, tackle the climate crisis, and create opportunities and good-paying jobs. It is time to act.

Administration officials and members of Congress echoed the idea that climate action is economic action, where it was positively received by journalists, energy and foreign policy experts, environmental justice advocates, and labor leaders. The speech also received a 78% approval rating in a CBS poll of viewers, a large majority (64%) of whom said the president’s speech made them feel confident his plan would lower inflation.

Here’s what administration officials are saying:

Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff

“I think you heard the president make the case tonight for lowering energy costs for consumers by making this transition to a more clean energy future. You heard him talking about how much money people could save, a common sense, pocketbook argument for investing in these technologies, giving people tax credits to weatherize their homes and businesses and things like that. Giving tax credits to increase our production of sustainable energy. And obviously promoting a transition to more and more electrical vehicles—the President talked about how many jobs that would create, the President talked about how much that money would save people by not having to buy gasoline. ​​ And so I think that there’s a lot of opportunities there. I think we’re going to try to find a path forward in the Senate to pass that legislation, and that’s what we’re focused on. That’s what you heard the president articulate tonight.” [Twitter, 3/1/22]

Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council of United States

“This really highlights and underscores the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel in the medium term. That’s the plan the president laid out last night.” [MSNBC, 3/2/22]

Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury

“I am optimistic about the U.S. economic recovery.  President Biden’s policies will increase the productive capacity of our economy to boost long-term growth, protect the environment, and promote equity.” [Twitter, 3/2/22]

President Biden (Twitter)

“We can cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change. Let’s provide investments and tax credits to:

– Weatherize homes and businesses

– Double America’s clean energy production

– Lower the price of electric vehicles” [3/1/22]

Here’s what key members of Congress are saying:

Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)

“Republicans should acknowledge: the ONLY way to defeat Russian energy blackmail is to end our dependence on oil and make America the world’s clean energy superpower.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee

“While our package of clean energy tax incentives is first and foremost a way to reduce drastically carbon emissions, it will also reduce energy costs and further lessen our reliance on foreign oil and gas, including from authoritarian regimes. This will bolster our national security and diplomatic strength. We need to move this package as soon as possible—opposition to it is now simply a commitment to be reliant on tyrants like Putin for decades to come.” [Office of Sen. Wyden – press release, 3/1/22]

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)

“It is clear we are at a precipice with fossil fuels  – it is the time to protect our nation and move to renewable energy.  I’m ready to partner with @POTUS to address this national security issue. #SOTU” [Twitter, 3/1/22]

Here’s what journalists, clean energy experts, environmental justice activists, and labor leaders are saying:

Ezra Klein

“Russia, inflation, and energy are deeply linked. […] The leverage energy dependence has given Russia is all the more reason to start racing towards decarbonization, not just for us but for Europe. That would weaken Russia, and other noxious petrostates, and lower the climate threat, and the threat of air pollution, and and and…” [Twitter, 3/2/22]

Clean Energy For America

“The president was right on the money: Congress must power American clean energy to new heights.” [Twitter, 3/1/22]

Black Millennials For Flint

“Lead pollution is a major #EnvironmentalJustice issue, disproportionately hurting kids & frontline communities. At this #SOTU we recognize the historic investments the infrastructure act includes to #GetTheLeadOut. We must make sure every community gets this $ that needs it.” [Twitter, 3/1/22]


“Clean energy technologies like #solar and #storage are critical to U.S. energy independence, national security, and our #climate future. President Biden is right: Congress must act to boost America’s clean energy economy. #SOTU” [Twitter, 3/1/22]

Sierra Club

“Investing in clean energy, in clean air and water, and in a safe, livable climate will create millions of jobs, help address inflation, and build a better America. The House of Representatives has taken action; it’s past time the Senate passes legislation investing in climate, jobs, and justice too.” [Sierra Club – press release, 3/1/22]