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  • Lauren Duhon

A Turning Point

Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Americans understand the need for climate action.

Overall, “broad majorities of the public — including more than half of Republicans and overwhelming shares of Democrats — say they would favor a range of initiatives to reduce the impacts of climate change,” according to a June 2020 poll by the Pew Research Center.

Source: Biden-Harris Transition Team

And the incoming Biden administration, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, is planning to tackle the climate crisis head on.

Slated as having the most environmentally-progressive plan for an elected president in the history of the U.S., the Biden Plan promises to:

  • Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050 through executive orders and legislation.

  • Build a stronger, more resilient nation by investing in infrastructure, research and climate resiliency plans.

  • Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change by recommitting to the Paris Climate Agreement and by integrating climate policy into foreign policy.

  • Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities through regulation and community-driven change.

  • Fulfill our obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth by fostering the transition into new jobs and not leaving behind vulnerable communities.

The administration plans to put the country on a path to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050, with a range of proposals on how to get there as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He wants to tighten energy efficiency standards, eliminate new oil and gas leases on federal lands, increase mass transportation and infrastructure funding, as well as develop technologies to boost nuclear power sources and efficiently capture carbon emissions.

The Biden administration has also promised to hold a global climate summit within 100 days of assuming office, while placing strategic members in the cabinet to further its climate action plan, including former Secretary of State John Kerry as the global climate envoy, Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, and former EPA chief Gina McCarthy as the White House's national climate advisor, among others.

Additionally, the outgoing Congress left behind a gift for the President-elect. In December 2020, a bill passed to curb the use of a specific chemical used in refrigerators and air conditioners that contributes to global warming.

Not only that, but Congress passed a massive spending bill that included $35 billion in energy research and development programs, as well as a two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar power, a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects, and an extension through 2025 for offshore wind tax credits.

The administration’s goal is “to make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice,” with a proposal of more than $1.7 trillion in federal investment over the next 10 years.

An ambitious plan to reach a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050, but an important one.

For many voters, the hope is that the administration puts us on a path to do just that.