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Joe Biden admits US climate law has ‘glitches’ after Emmanuel Macron criticism

President Joe Biden meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, during a State Visit. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, during a State Visit. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Joe Biden has acknowledged there are “glitches” in America’s clean energy law that have raised concerns in Europe, but said “there’s tweaks we can make” to satisfy allies.

Mr Biden, who is honouring Emmanuel Macron with the first state dinner of his presidency, said at a joint news conference that he and the French president spoke a “a good deal” about European concerns over his signature climate change law during an Oval Office meeting.

“The United States makes no apology. And I make no apologies since I wrote it for the legislation we’re talking about,” said Mr Biden, though he conceded that changes may be needed to the massive legislative package which he signed into law in August

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Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron walk along the Colonnade of the White House (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Mr Macron has made clear that he and other European leaders are concerned about incentives in the new law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which favour American-made climate technology, including electric vehicles.

The French leader said that while the Biden administration’s efforts to curb climate change should be applauded, the subsidies would be an enormous setback for European companies.

“We want to succeed together, not one against the other,” Mr Macron added

He said the US and France would “resynchronise” their clean energy efforts to ensure there is no “domino effect” that undermines clean energy projects in Europe.

The comments came after the pair sat down on Thursday for talks, spending much of their time discussing the war in Ukraine and concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

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Joe Biden with Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office (Andrew Harnik/AP)

On the nine-month-old war in Ukraine, they face headwinds as they try to maintain unity in the US and Europe to keep economic and military aid flowing to Kyiv as it tries to repel Russian forces.

“The choices we make today and the years ahead will determine the course of our world for decades to come,” Mr Biden said at an arrival ceremony.

The leaders met for talks shortly after hundreds of people gathered on the South Lawn for the ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and a review of troops.

Both leaders paid tribute to their countries’ long alliance, but acknowledged difficult moments lay ahead as western unity shows some wear nine months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In Washington, Republicans are set to take control of the House of Representatives, where party leader Kevin McCarthy has said his party’s legislators will not write a “blank cheque” for Ukraine.

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Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron review the troops (Alex Brandon/AP)

Across the Atlantic, Mr Macron’s efforts to keep Europe united will be tested by the mounting costs of supporting Ukraine in the war and as Europe battles rising energy prices that threaten to derail the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“Our two nations are sisters in the fight for freedom,” Mr Macron said, adding: “What is at stake in Ukraine is not just very far from here, in a small country somewhere in Europe. But it’s about our values. And about our principles.”

But he criticised the legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, during a luncheon on Wednesday with US lawmakers and again during a speech at the French Embassy.

“The choices that have been made… are choices that will fragment the West,” Mr Macron said.

He said the legislation “creates such differences between the United States of America and Europe that all those who work in many companies (in the U.S.), they will just think, ‘We don’t make investments any more on the other side of the Atlantic’”.

He also said major industrial nations need to do more to address climate change and promote biodiversity.