Disaster averted: Biden’s climate policy promises to return the US to the Paris Agreement

Adopting a “Build Back Better” agenda, which includes a new infrastructure and clean energy plan, Presidential candidate and previous Vice President, Joe Biden, is planning for “a clean energy revolution and environmental justice”. 

With the reality of Joe Biden becoming the next President of the US edging closer, the US is on track to prioritise the climate battle. This comes after the release of Biden’s double-digit lead in approval polls

Home to Silicon Valley, the tech hub of the globe, addressing the climate emergency, integrating clean energy and taking sustainable action should be at the top of any US politician’s to-do list. 

But with a modern economy dependent on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels still dominating the growing renewable energy market, the solution is not simple. As recently as 2018, fossil fuels fed around 80% of the nation’s energy demand – down only 4% in a decade.

Current position 

On 4 November 2019, the US was put at odds with the rest of the world. As the second-largest emitter of GHG globally, the Trump Administration informed the United Nations of their withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. 

Himself sceptical of the climate crisis’ existence, Trump’s federal government took steps back on the US’ federal climate policy. Trump also expressed intentions to revive the coal industry and weaken the Clean Power Plan through the EPA. 

Although there is hope. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2019 Green New Deal resolution proposes what the US needs to do to battle the impending climate crisis. The deal also outlines what needs to be done to protect the people.  

Necessitating immediate change, there is a cost. With a fossil fuel dependent economy, this rapid change will affect employment and will cause economy uncertainty initially. Making adequate modifications in the US to support the changes necessary to fight the climate crisis requires a total overhaul of the economic system. Yet, despite short-term challenges, the long-term benefits are non-negotiable. 

A hope for cleantech 

Although different from AOC’s Green New Deal, Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda represents his own version of the deal. It similarly reframes climate action as a stimulus for jobs, infrastructure and clean energy. 

Last Tuesday, in a campaign speech, Biden radically and ambitiously revealed his plans for a $2tn investment in climate action over his four-year term. He intends to directly take the legislation to Capitol Hill for direct action. 

Combining post-COVID recovery, and social equality with his investment plans, Biden also proposed new performance standards including a clean electricity standard. 

Biden’s climate policy

According to Biden’s campaign site: “As president, Biden will lead the world to address the climate emergency and lead through the power of example, by ensuring the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050”.

The site additionally outlines “The Biden Plan” for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice as such:

  • Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050 – immediately sign executive orders to set the US on track and enact multiple legislations in his first year.
  • Build a stronger, more resilient nation – rebuilding the nations with infrastructure investments and secure buildings, water, transportation and energy infrastructures that can endure the impacts of climate change. 
  • Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change – stand with allies, stand up to adversaries and level with world leaders, whilst additionally recommitting the US to the Paris Agreement. 
  • Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of colour and low-income communities – provide support to vulnerable communities, with an inclusive community-driven process. 
  • Fulfil our obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth. 

With the 2020 election looming, hope for a cleaner future additionally looms with the prospect of Joe Biden’s election. 

A note from CleanTech News: although we praise Joe Biden’s climate policy, this is not an endorsement of his political candidacy.


Maisie Law

Maisie Law is Editor-in-Chief here at CleanTech News. Maisie is keen to start making an impact on the developing CleanTech revolution by combining her interests in sustainable development and writing. Through her legal background, Maisie is acutely aware of the political and policy changes that need to be made to drive the earth towards carbon net zero. Equally as crucial to our mission, and the focus at CleanTech News is the sustainable achievements of those from start-ups to corporates, as she aims to champion and provide a platform to celebrate carbon reduction.