Boosting Investment in Climate Solutions

Duke conference convenes leaders in government, industry, academics and nonprofits

Ronnie Chatterji, left, talks with John Podesta during the conference exploring ways to increase private and public investment in fighting climate change.

Keynote speaker John Podesta, tapped in January as global climate adviser to President Biden, said the IRA “incentivizes” a broad section of state and local governments, nonprofits, businesses and others to invest in cleaner energy.

The conference attracted business leaders, elected officials, scholars and community activists to discuss building partnerships and growing investment to address climate change.

That has led to good jobs in both urban and rural communities, he said, noting under the IRA and other efforts there’s been $650 billion in manufacturing investments since Biden took office. In North Carolina, this includes investment in companies in the hybrid vehicle supply chain, he said.

“Everything from investments in environmental justice to forestry, across the board, what the IRA did was (assist) every sector, every city, not just power,” said Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Clinton and adviser to President Obama. 

“And I think one of the things that’s really quite different from what we’ve seen over the previous couple of decades is that you have … 10 years of certainty about what you can take advantage of … and claim credits. There’s a provision that permits you to transfer credit. It gives businesses the opportunity to plan much bigger projects, to plan for the future.”

Podesta said he thinks the IRA and other federal programs should continue even if Biden loses the November election because of the way they’re structured. 

"Now, the question is, how do we bridge public and private investments to move the needle from billions to trillions and meet our climate goals?” said Fuqua professor Ronnie Chatterji, who served as the Biden White House CHIPS coordinator, overseeing the implementation of the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act. The conference was organized by the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, the Fuqua School of Business, Fuqua's Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment, and Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship.