Why Vote for Joe? A Real Plan to Tackle Climate Change and Build a Green Economy
Joe Biden has an aggressive plan to position America as a leader in the fight against climate change. The plan includes a $2 trillion investment in clean energy, jobs and infrastructure, and an environmental justice plan that aims to address the health and pollution disparities that afflict communities of color.
While Biden has said repeatedly that he does not endorse the Green New Deal, the two plans have at their core the same fundamental focus. Both see the climate challenge and job creation as two inseparable elements that must be addressed as a whole.
The Green New Deal, for example, contains a jobs guarantee, and although Biden’s plan does not go as far, his plan is focused on creating millions of jobs while addressing the climate crisis.
The Green New Deal is an overarching resolution that lays out goals but does not create an explicit set of policies to reach those goals. Joe Biden’s plan contains specifics.
Investment in green jobs
Biden’s plan would reshape America’s energy and transportation sectors while strengthening America’s infrastructure. The restructuring would move the U.S. toward a less carbon-intensive economy while creating jobs across a spectrum of industries including science, engineering, construction, manufacturing and technology.
Joe Biden also supports a “just transition” to help workers affected by these changes. The Biden plan proposes to create millions of jobs through federal investment in:
- Designing and producing low-emission vehicles
- Building public transportation in urban hubs
- Connecting communities through high-speed rail
- Building sustainable infrastructure that can stand up to environmental challenges
- Upgrading millions of buildings to be energy efficient
- Constructing sustainable housing units
- Cleaning sites that have been polluted by fossil fuel extraction
- Creating a plan to promote clean energy exports
Joe Biden would also invest $400 billion over 10 years in clean energy and climate research.
Protecting America’s natural resources
Joe Biden would not ban fracking, but he would place bans on new offshore drilling projects and new permits for extraction on public lands.
The Biden plan sets ambitious goals for reducing emissions and outlines tactics that aim to create a 100 percent clean electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
As part of the investment in public transportation, Biden would strive to make all new U.S. manufactured buses zero-emissions by 2030.
The Biden plan does not specifically ban any type of energy to achieve these goals but rather employs a combination of investment, regulation and market forces, including the creating of a voluntary carbon capture market for America’s farmers.
The Biden plan would create a new environmental justice division within the Department of Justice that would focus on increasing enforcement against polluters.
Biden also proposes committing 40 percent of all clean energy funds to disadvantaged communities to address systemic inequalities in health and environmental outcomes.
The Biden plan addresses the issue of clean drinking water by increasing testing for lead and officially declaring more toxic chemicals hazardous so that they can be removed from pipes.
Biden’s investment in infrastructure would also address disparities in access to clean air and water, as well as broadband, transportation, and educational opportunities.
In his first 100 days, Biden has pledged to hold a global climate summit to bring America back into the worldwide conversation about climate change. He would also rejoin the Paris Agreement.
Domestically, Biden would create a National Intelligence Estimate to assess threats to national and economic security stemming from climate change.
According to Pew Research, 65 percent of adults believe that stricter environmental regulations are worth the financial cost. But America does not have to choose between jobs and addressing the climate crisis. We can do both.
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First, it is worth mentioning that comparing Biden’s plan to the Green New Deal is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, because the Green New Deal is a broad resolution, not a specific plan. The goals of the Green New Deal are many, but the details on how exactly to achieve those goals are few. Thus, putting a price tag on the Green New Deal has been elusive; some experts estimate it would likely be tens of trillions of dollars over 10 years.
In contrast, Biden’s climate plan would lay out $2 trillion over 4 years towards clean energy and infrastructure, which he says will create “millions” of jobs and move the U.S. closer to a carbon-free future. (For comparison, the cost, while expensive, it is still short of the one-year, $2.2 trillion price tag for U.S. coronavirus stimulus measures to date.)
Biden declined to accept campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, and would seek to end subsidies for the industry domestically and abroad. He has said he would reinstate ANWR protections; he’d remove Arctic waters from consideration for oil and gas development.He opposes new permits for oil development on public lands and would ban offshore drilling. But he recently said he “would not ban fracking.”
Biden would seek to work with other countries to get China to stop exporting fossil fuel projects, and to offer alternative financing for cleaner ones. He also would try to convince the Group of 20 to eliminate coal financing for all but the poorest countries.