Biden Reveals Aggressive Green Energy Plan
Democratic candidate Joe Biden revealed an aggressive green energy plan on Tuesday. While the package is designed to push America toward a 2035 carbon-free goal, the $2 trillion plan would also create new employment opportunities, The Associated Press reported.
Changes That Cannot Be Undone
The idea to include climate as part of his platform underscores one of the key differences between Biden and President Donald Trump. Whereas the Democrat is aiming to introduce more federal regulations to force the energy industry onto a green path, the Trump administration has spent nearly four years peeling back layers of environmental protections. If elected, Biden wants to ensure his new eco-friendly plan isn’t able to be rolled back as quickly in the future.
“God willing I win and even if I serve eight years, I want to make sure we put down such a marker that it’s impossible for the next president to turn it around,” Biden said.
Biden would establish an environmental and climate justice division at the Department of Justice, a move that would counteract year of Trump undoing policies designed to limit the effects of pollution, Jacob Pramuk reported for CNBC.
The aggressive green energy plan is the result of a commission created by Biden and his former primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I–Vt. The price tag of the proposal rose by nearly 20% from $1.7 trillion when the idea was first floated by the Biden campaign team. With it, the timeline for the expenditures was also shortened to four years from 10 years.
Creating Jobs While Protecting the Environment
According to Biden, the policy will create “millions” of union jobs with a minimum pay rate of $15 per hour. A bulk of these opportunities will be in infrastructure such as roads and broadband internet. The aggressive green energy plan would also overhaul existing mass transportation systems across the nation. In particular, a Biden administration would push for electric passenger trains, including those used by Amtrak in addition to carbon-free buses.
Washington would allocate a portion of the budget to develop eco-friendly light rail and bus systems, CNBC reported. Transportation is only one part of the plan; Biden’s proposal also includes a rethinking of American housing and buildings. Specifically, it would push for them to be more sustainable under changing climate conditions., Furthermore, it calls for the creation of 1.5 million green homes to make housing more affordable.
The Democratic candidate also chose to focus part of the initiative on monitoring ethnically diverse communities for effects of pollution.
“We need to be mindful of the historical wrongs and damage” that American businesses have inflicted upon minority communities, Biden said. In his proposal, Biden mandates 40% of the clean energy deployment budget be directed to “historically disadvantaged communities,” The Associated Press reported.
Who’s Going to Pay For It?
Although Biden broadcast the sticker price of his aggressive green energy plan, he refrained from dabbling in the particulars of funding it. However, campaign officials who spoke anonymously with The Associated Press claimed the plan would be funded by tax increases on the upper class and businesses, as well as deficit spending.
Biden’s plan is also weaker than those of his former Democratic competition. Notably, it does not prohibit fracking and avoids a complete ban on destructive fossil fuels. Biden’s initiative takes a softer approach designed to wean the nation off carbon-intensive fuels.
He also advocates for carbon capture devices offset the effects of petroleum pollution and even favors nuclear power as a solution to the environmental crisis.
The Next Solyndra?
Trump has yet to comment on Biden’s aggressive green energy plan, but Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Republican whip, let loose his thoughts on the idea.
“The only thing I can think of is, that is Solyndra on steroids,” Scalise said on a call for Trump’s campaign. “You would have higher energy costs and you would see who gets hit the hardest — it’s low-income families.”
Solyndra was a California solar panel manufacturer that declared bankruptcy shortly after receiving a $535 loan guarantee during the Obama administration. An investigation of the company later revealed executives had engaged in accounting fraud, The Associated Press reported.
Biden, however, defended his climate action plan.
“These aren’t pie in the sky dreams. These are actionable policies that we can get to work on right away,” he said. Biden also called climate change “the existential threat to humanity.”