On his website, Biden lays out his plan to combat climate change, but just how effective is it? He specifies five goals that he wants to reach and explains how he plans to do so.
1. Ensure that by 2050, the U.S. will achieve 100% clean energy and reach net zero emissions.
On day one, Biden plans to implement rigorous limits on methane pollution from all oil and gas plants. Although he will not immediately eradicate all pollutive plants in order to keep the economy stable, he aims to eliminate them by 2050. Additionally, he will advocate for cities to turn to a greener transportation system. What he will do with the thrown away vehicles (and other technology) is still unknown, but I believe the best solution is to recycle them.
Current household technologies, such as refrigerators, contribute a lot to climate change. Biden plans to spend $400 billion over 10 years to create new environmentally friendly technologies. He will explore cleaner air transportation, but eco-friendly airplanes are as of yet a thing of the future, as they require a massive amount of power to function. The best way to reduce airlines' carbon footprint is to sell more economy class tickets and limit private transportation. Additionally, the use of electric batteries in vehicles such as Tesla cars is setting the stage for a battery waste problem in the future.
Limited housing forces workers to live far away from their jobs, resulting in longer commutes and increased carbon emissions. Biden hopes to eliminate this problem by creating denser and more affordable housing near work spaces.
2. Fortify the nation to withstand the effects of climate change and economic change.
The second section of Biden’s five-part plan explains how he will maintain the economy while combating climate change. Many people are worried about how these changes will affect their livelihoods. Because the oil industry provides for 5.6% of U.S. employment, Biden hopes to create jobs that help build and maintain new environmentally-friendly public resources.
Furthermore, Biden wants to modernize railroads by making them safer, quicker, and greener. The specific routes he will focus on (Oregon to Washington, D.C to NYC, etc) are short, but I personally hope he continues to advocate for railroad transportation: traveling by train uses up half the amount of carbon dioxide as traveling by airplane does.
3. Rally Americans to acknowledge and recognize the massive threat of climate change.
After re-entering the Paris Climate Accord, Biden plans to lead the world in international agreements about carbon dioxide emissions, organizing world climate summits to bring awareness to the imminent threat of climate change.
Biden emphasizes China’s impact on climate change, noting that it is the world’s number one polluter due to their outsourcing pollutive substances (taking resources from outside sources instead of producing them locally) and supporting coal exports. To ensure other countries do their part, Biden would like to make more agreements (emphasizing bilateral treaties with China) about regulating carbon emissions. The oil industry makes up 20-25% of China’s economy and around 59% of Chinese civilians used coal for fuel in 2018. Although Biden’s initiative is beneficial, I cannot help but question China’s willingness to cooperate; additionally, the Chinese government must take more initiative itself. International agreements could lead to outstanding debt, but Biden hopes to reform the International Monetary Fund to help ease the debts from future climate change projects.
Biden advocates for a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies, stating that “There is simply no excuse for subsidizing fossil fuel,” because although some people may depend on low prices for fuel, subsidies should be allocated towards clean energy, discouraging the use of environmentally-unfriendly resources. Additionally, Biden encourages all families to use green energy, creating a Clean Energy Export and Climate Investment Initiative.
Finally, Biden calls climate change a “threat multiplier.” He will direct the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Advisor working with the Secretaries of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and others to focus more on climate change. All these changes display his understanding of the threat of climate change, acknowledging that we must act now.
4. Stand up to polluters who abuse their powers and harm low-income people or communities of color.
Biden specifically states that he wants to “Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities,” but he really should be standing up to all polluters who abuse their power. He lists multiple statistics on how communities of color are affected by climate change. For example, almost half of the U.S.’s Latino population live in counties where the air quality does not meet the EPA’s public health guidelines.
Too many communities in America do not have access to clean drinking water. Biden explains the situation by listing specific places that have water sources affected by climate change. Additionally, he added statistics that display the gravity of climate change on our resources. He ensures clean water for communities across America and takes a jab at the Trump Administration for not holding polluters accountable for their wrongdoings, stating that he plans to direct the EPA and justice department towards these cases.
5. Ensure safety for those who are negatively affected by the new economy that will come with these environmentally-friendly changes.
Biden states that he plans on “[investing] in coal and power plant communities and other communities impacted by the climate transformation.” He acknowledges the potential economic disasters to come and plans ahead to make sure everyone will be safe from economic harm in the future.
For a more detailed explanation of Biden’s climate change plan, please visit his website.
Biden, J. (2020, October 29). Plan for Climate Change and Environmental Justice: Joe Biden. Retrieved December 27, 2020, from https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/
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