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November 23, 2022

Viewpoint: We don’t have to choose between jobs and climate

Photos | Courtesy of U.S. Congress Jen Benson and Jim McGovern

As we travel throughout Massachusetts, we’re asked time and again about two of the most dramatic challenges facing our commonwealth: How do we address the clear and present danger of climate change, and how do we grow our economy to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

For decades, our country’s political and business leaders have been presented with a false choice: economic prosperity or environmental protection. The federal Inflation Reduction Act is proof it’s time to retire this myth and replace it with a new truth–taking direct action on climate change. This is the shortest and best path to building a stronger, more competitive economy.

Signed into law by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16, the Inflation Reduction Act is the largest action on climate change in the history of the United States. It’s going to produce 9 million good-paying American jobs, lower energy prices for American families, and secure true energy security for generations to come. This bill creates a real path forward for the public and private sector to work together to protect our planet and create quality jobs in every state, and it should be a model for how we can work together to get things done moving forward.

Through smart public investments and incentives, the Inflation Reduction Act brings $11.4 billion worth of large-scale clean power generation and storage to Massachusetts from now until 2030. This will move us away from dependence on expensive, unreliable fossil fuels. Just as importantly, it will generate unprecedented economic potential, from Worcester to Boston and everywhere in between.

Congressman McGovern fought at the federal level, and the Alliance for Business Leadership advocated at the state level, to pass impactful legislation like this because of what these policies will do for Massachusetts. By helping businesses invest in clean energy technology and giving our entrepreneurs the tools they need to lead the world in clean energy production, the Inflation Reduction Act will create more than 9,000 clean energy jobs in Massachusetts over the next seven years, and 37,000 jobs by 2050.

Another way to think about it: the nationwide $370-billion investment in the clean economy of the future will create tens of thousands of jobs in every state. Massachusetts will see more jobs created than the entire populations of Auburn and Holden combined.

And the Inflation Reduction Act not only puts people to work, it lowers costs for small businesses and consumers. Massachusetts is home to 715,425 small businesses, and the Inflation Reduction Act will lower their costs through dramatic energy efficiency improvements, putting money back in the pockets of small business owners and families across the commonwealth.

As is perfectly clear from natural disasters over the past few years, the climate crisis is already here. Fortunately, because of the game-changing Inflation Reduction Act, so is the solution. This law is a big deal. It advances America’s global leadership and sets us on a path toward true, sustainable economic growth, starting right now. Just as importantly, it represents a sea change in the way that the public and private sectors can work together for the good of our planet. We hope the precedent of collaboration and leadership exemplified by this law will serve as a model for tackling big problems moving forward.

As advocates for both environmental protection and economic prosperity, we reject the idea that progress in one must come at the expense of the other. The Inflation Reduction Act shows us the way forward. We are confident that the people of Massachusetts will embrace this moment and ensure our commonwealth remains at the forefront of leading the world towards a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.

Congressman Jim McGovern is chairman of the House Rules Committee and Represents the 2nd District of Massachusetts, which includes Worcester.

Jen Benson, a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, is the president of the Alliance for Business Leadership, a business organization representing more than 100 corporate and nonprofit organizations and focusing on corporate and civic leadership in the areas of climate change, transportation, affordable housing, and economic opportunity.

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