What Does Biden's Victory Mean for the Environment?
Nov 10 2020 Read 345 Times
With Joe Biden amassing more votes than any other presidential candidate in history and eclipsing the incumbent Donald Trump in the process, the US election made headlines across the globe. It’s not just the 328 million people who live in the USA who will feel the effects of the historic vote, either.
The two men’s diametrically opposed views on the environment mean that Biden’s victory will spell excellent news for environmentalists the world over. Here’s what to expect from the next four years of a Biden presidency with regard to the environment:
Whereas Trump was a staunch supporter of the fossil fuel industry, Biden has favoured transitioning towards greener sources of energy and sees ending subsidies for oil, coal and gas as key to achieving that vision. While he stopped short of endorsing a ban on the practice of fracking, he did indicate that he would not allow new offshore drilling projects to go ahead, suggesting there may be uncertainty ahead for the coronavirus-stricken oil industry. He also believes that the falling cost of renewables have made coal obsolete.
Biden has previously declared that he plans to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office, as well as hosting a global climate summit within his first 100 days as president. He has earmarked a target of achieving 100% of America’s energy demands from clean sources by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, setting aside a total of $2 trillion to achieve both targets. That’s in stark contrast to Trump, who repeatedly alleged that climate change was a hoax.
Biden plans to invest $400 billion into clean energy initiatives over a 10-year period, incentivising the uptake of new technologies via tax breaks and other financial policies. He wants to double the capacity of offshore wind farms by 2030, as well as encourage a transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by developing a network of half a million charging stations by the same date. He favours small-scale nuclear reactors and wants to bring down emissions from industry, agriculture and residential buildings.
After Trump relaxed several pieces of legislation surrounding the methods used to monitoring effluent from the wastewater network, Biden wishes to tighten up the rules to ensure drinking water is safe across the entirety of the United States. He also identified underprivileged communities as especially at risk and has stated that 40% of all clean energy investment would go towards disadvantaged neighbourhoods. He is also keen to eradicate the use of single-use plastics.
After recognising the alarming situation that many endangered species in the US are facing, Biden has said he will conserve up to 30% of America’s land and water by 2030 to slow extinction rates. He will also undo many of the measures taken by Trump to open up protected parts of the country to mining, logging and deforestation, especially in Alaska and Utah. One of the principal methods by which he will do so is by reinstating those protections and withholding new oil and gas permits on both land and sea.
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