Former Vice President Joe Biden is preparing to make combatting climate change a centerpiece of his administration, with top aides signaling the topic is likely to consume all levels of the federal government.
Biden, who promised a New Deal-style approach to addressing climate issues on the campaign trail this year, has begun formulating a governing strategy to curb carbon emissions “even without congressional action, by maximizing executive authority,” according to the Washington Post.
“From the very beginning of the campaign, when President-elect Biden rolled out his climate plan, he made it clear he sees this as an all-of-government agenda – domestic, economic, foreign policy,” the Biden campaign’s policy director, Stef Feldman, told the outlet.
Although it remains unclear just how such an approach will look in execution, Biden’s promises on the campaign trail shed some light on the extent of his commitment to “environmental justice.” From promising to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord on his first day at the White House to pledging the creation of a new division within the Department of Justice to combat pollution, the former vice president has laid out an ambitious agenda on the climate.
Biden’s plan, heavily influenced by the recommendations of a unity task force set up earlier this year by the presumptive nominee and his vanquished primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), proposes spending $2 trillion over four years to combat climate change.
A major portion of the money will be used to create one million new jobs in the auto industry by boosting the production of energy-efficient vehicles. In order to achieve the goal, Biden is backing legislation, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), to incentivize individuals to trade in their gas-powered vehicles for ones running on either electricity or hydrogen.
Biden has also proposed to adopt a 100 percent clean-electricity standard by 2035. A similar idea was initially raised by Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) during his own ill-fated run for the Democrat nomination in 2019. If implemented, it would ensure that all electricity produced in the United States would be “carbon-free.”
This would likely have a massive impact on the coal and natural gas industries that, according to the Energy Information Association, produce around 63 percent of all electricity in the country.