After a tight race, Joe Biden won the majority of electoral votes in the United States’ 2020 election. During his campaign, the former vice president declared climate change is the number one issue humanity is currently facing, and therefore ‘it’s the number one issue for him’, he said to Pod Save America (a politics podcast). Now, Biden aims to launch what has been called the most ambitious climate plan in the country’s history (BBC, Washington Post).
Donald Trump, the current president of the United States, does not believe in climate change himself and has deemed it to be a hoax. During his time in office, Trump has pulled the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, a pact between nearly 200 countries that aims to prevent the warming of our planet by cutting greenhouse emissions and supporting poorer countries to manage the effects of global warming. Thanks to this agreement, nations including Britain, the members of the European Union, Japan, and South Korea plan to neutralize their greenhouse emissions by 2050. Additionally, according to CNCB, “Trump has denied the science of climate change and reversed more than 70am major environmental regulations during his four years in office, with nearly 30 more in progress.” Therefore, his four years in office have set back the United States significantly when it comes to climate action.
Fortunately for our planet, on November 7 the Associated Press called the 2020 election for Joe Biden, the current leader of the Democratic party of the United States. Contrastingly, in regard to Trump’s decision, Biden plans to undo Trump’s retreat and has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office (January 20, 2021).
“Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” Biden said in Pod Save America. “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation.”
Climate action has been one of the issues that came to the foreground throughout this election and also became the motivation behind millions of young people to vote for Biden. According to the Biden-Harris Official Campaign Website, the new administration plans to “ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.” Moreover, they plan to “rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change”, going even further than only rejoining the previously mentioned Paris Agreement; their goal is to motivate every major country to increment the “ambition of their domestic climate targets.”
To further counter climate change, the Biden-Harris campaign has proposed a win-win plan of action: to reduce carbon emissions and in the process generate millions of high-paying jobs by investing $2 trillion in clean energy. This investment will be allocated in infrastructure, the auto industry, transit, the power sector, and environmental justice, among others. For the auto industry, they aspire to create a nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles. In terms of transit, for most U.S. American cities they plan to provide ‘high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation’ as well as infrastructure that would benefit both pedestrians and cyclists. Furthermore, regarding the power sector, they aim to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2035.