Washington, DC – Climate change represents the preeminent security threat facing American families today. In passing the America COMPETES Act, the House of Representatives has taken an important step toward ensuring U.S. foreign policy recognizes and addresses this threat.
Key provisions would integrate climate into national and economic security strategies and create new planning processes and structures, such as Climate Change Officers in U.S. missions and an inter-agency Climate Impacts Taskforce, to ensure U.S. foreign policy is not just informed but driven by the need to confront climate change. Meanwhile, the bill’s smart investments, including $12 billion over the next two years to support clean energy deployment and climate resilience in developing countries, will enhance American competitiveness in vital clean energy technologies and climate solutions.
The America COMPETES Act also ensures that America’s diplomats and foreign service professionals will continue to be able to represent the U.S. overseas with the flexibility and creativity demanded by our complex global environment.
While there is still more that must be done to ensure America is equipped to engage in an increasingly nuanced and multi-polar world, particularly regarding the U.S. relationship with China, America COMPETES puts climate cooperation and clean energy at the center of our international strategy and strengthens our commitment to human rights and educational exchange.
Last year alone, 20 extreme-weather and climate-related disasters cost 688 American lives and caused $145 billion in damage. But just as clear as the costs of inaction are the benefits of leading the way on solutions. In 2021, clean energy investment rose to its highest level ever: $755 billion, with nearly half of that occurring in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region; increasing climate ambition will require trillions more annually.
“If we want to create a durable advantage for American enterprise as the effects of climate change become more real and global demand for clean energy surges, we need to be strategic about how we approach climate and the energy transition in our international relationships,” said Andrew Albertson, FP4A’s Executive Director. “Those who continue to question the connection between climate change and foreign policy, and particularly our relationship with China, need to wake up to the reality that the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and the global energy transition go to the heart of protecting our economic, geopolitical, and security interests in the 21st century.”
As the House and Senate move toward conferencing their respective bills on enhancing U.S. competitiveness, FP4A urges inclusion of the critical climate and clean energy provisions in America COMPETES in any final legislation.