Written by: Mariah
Edited by: Keitaro
Visual by: Solenne
According to a Pew Research Center poll, 68% of voters in the United States said they would consider climate change when casting their votes for the presidential election. Contrary to Donald Trump, who has repeatedly denied climate science and promoted fossil fuels, Joe Biden guarantees significant progress. Former Democratic rivals, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, young climate activists, union officials, and environmental justice leaders, helped shape Biden’s $2 trillion Clean Energy Revolution, the most ambitious climate policy proposed by a presidential candidate. It aims to achieve 100% clean energy in the United States and have net zero emissions by 2050.
On his first day in office, Biden plans to sign a series of executive orders that will impose emission limits on oil and gas industries, as well as spend billions of dollars on clean energy resources. His plan includes building sustainable infrastructure, powering clean energy transportation, recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, and providing more jobs across the energy sector. Additionally, $75 billion a year would be spent on research and development of green technology like carbon capture machines. The plan also resolves the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic and addresses environmental racism and inequality, an issue rarely tackled in climate policies.
Biden’s plans can only go too far on ambition without support from the Senate and the House of Representatives. Republican senator Mitch McConnell will likely resume control over the Senate and Amy Coney Barrett will run a more conservative Supreme Court, straining Biden’s proposed climate policies. However, progress can still be made through executive actions and within federal agencies. Biden could undo most, if not all, of Trump’s 104 rolled back environmental rules, from air pollution limits to wildlife protection. On the other hand, Biden still needs to focus on the coronavirus pandemic and other urgent issues first, which would delay plans to tackle climate change. Biden’s plan also doesn’t address the reduction of car usage, which accounts for 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S. Although Biden will market the use of electric cars, the production of these cars consume substantial resources. Therefore, if the promotion of electric cars results in more people driving, overall emissions might not be reduced.
Biden’s two-pronged approach includes not only climate solutions, but also the role of citizens amid change through more jobs and more resilient communities. The Clean Energy Revolution isn’t a silver bullet, nor is it the most progressive solution to climate change. However, Biden represents what the American people need right now: hope and a vision for a clean energy future that changes the economy and the society, not the climate.
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