WASHINGTON – A United States Senate delegation has concluded its mission to Iceland, where Senators met with the nation’s leaders and clean energy experts on a range of topics including expanding renewable energy and strengthening NATO. The bipartisan delegation included U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
The senators were briefed by U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Carrin F. Patman and U.S. embassy officials, met with host nation President Gudni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, Minister for the Environment, Energy, and Climate Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Foreign Affairs Minister Thórdís Gylfadóttir, and members of the national parliament to discuss their work on climate action and the importance of maintaining and strengthening U.S.-Iceland ties and the NATO Alliance. They also toured geothermal power plants and carbon removal facilities and met with experts, business, and clean energy leaders to discuss Iceland’s work to produce nearly 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources and remove and store carbon from the atmosphere. The delegation also met with American servicemembers rotationally deployed to Keflavík Air Base.
“Climate change is no longer a future threat – we’re seeing the impact every day in the form of record-shattering heatwaves, floods, wildfires and more,” said Senator Smith. “We need all hands on deck if we’re serious about addressing this crisis, which is why working with our allies in Iceland and around the world is so important. I was encouraged to hear about the progress they have made leveraging geothermal resources for electricity and heating as well as innovating on carbon capture and storage. I look forward to continuing our work together as we take steps to accelerate clean energy innovation, protect the Arctic, and bolster global energy security.”
“Seeing the work Iceland is doing to develop its clean energy industry and fight climate change is impressive. With Iceland’s work as a model and new investments from the Inflation Reduction Act, we can further grow clean energy production across the United States and develop new technologies that will help us reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change,” said Senator Schatz. “As a fellow founding member of NATO, Iceland has been a key ally across the Atlantic. Our discussions during this mission were incredibly productive, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”
“It was great to join my Senate colleagues in Iceland and introduce them to the many innovations coming out of this small Arctic nation,” said Senator Murkowski. “Whether it’s pioneering geothermal energy, utilizing algae for carbon sequestration, or the impressive direct air capture of Carbfix – seeing these projects in person is valuable and important. I look forward to implementing some of the energy and blue economy ideas with my Senate colleagues.”
“Throughout this trip, I was grateful to speak with government leaders, energy companies, and entrepreneurs in Iceland to learn first-hand how they are working to fight climate change and to discuss ways to strengthen ties between our democracies,” said Senator Bennet. “Iceland is demonstrating the enormous economic potential and national security benefits that come from investing in clean energy technologies – and I’ll continue to support efforts in Colorado and across the United States to accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy.”
Congressional delegation and U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Carrin Patman meeting with President Gudni Thorlacius Jóhannesson of Iceland at Bessastadir
Congressional delegation and staff meeting with Speaker of the Althing Birgir Ármannsson and other members of parliament at the Parliament House
Congressional delegation touring the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant
Congressional delegation meeting with U.S. servicemembers at Keflavík Air Base
Congressional delegation and Ambassador Patman meeting with Iceland Foreign Affairs Minister Thórdís Gylfadóttir