Like a child screaming on an airplane, U.S. politicians can co longer afford to ignore climate change. The once taboo topic, recognized only by doomsday preppers and Al Gore, has now evolved into one of the paramount issues heading into the upcoming Democratic primaries — an issue that any candidate worth their campaign must be prepared to address.
Enter Joe Biden, the former vice president turned presidential hopeful who has newly released a 22-page plan centered on achieving 100% clean energy and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, all for the price tag of a cool $5 trillion. Of that $5 trillion, $1.7 trillion would come over the 10 years following his presumed first term. The funds for this ambitious would come from reversing the Trump tax cuts for corporations.
Furthermore, the plan promises immediate action, with a serious of executive orderers to be instituted as soon as he would take his seat in the Oval Office.
This is reflected within Biden’s campaign website, which reads:
On day one, Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track. And, he will demand that Congress enacts legislation in the first year of his presidency that: 1) establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, 2) makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, 3) incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.
These executive orders are headlined by three interesting policies:
- “Requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations.”
- “Using the Federal government procurement system — which spends $500 billion every year — to drive towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles.”
- “Ensuring that all U.S. government installations, buildings, and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready, harnessing the purchasing power and supply chains to drive innovation.”
In his climate plan, Biden also praises the Green New Deal, using aspects of it as a framework for his own policy development. The candidate describes the legislation as “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” continuing that the Green New Deal is founded upon the basic truths that the United States, by necessity, must adopt more aggressive and ambitious policies to combat the effects of pollution and climate change and that the environment and economy are entirely connected.
Biden is also looking to add legitimacy to his views by establishing his position as an early advocate for the necessity of renewable adoption and climate change action. His campaign website champions him as a “climate change pioneer,” boasting his commitment to the issue, dating all the way back to 1986. The candidate also boldly promises that he “will not accept contributions from oil, gas and coal corporations or executives.”
What’s not to be forgotten among the specifics of legislation is the bigger picture: climate change has become an issue that demands national attention, and we’re seeing the seeds of change beginning to sprout. Hopefully there’s still time for those sprouts to bloom.
— By Tim Sylvia