After a turbulent Election Week, Joe Biden has become president elect of the United States. Joe Biden is the democratic candidate put up against incumbent president Donald J. Trump, and represents a lot of change for the US, especially in the case of the environment.
President Trump has largely had a dismissive view of the environment, seeking to tear down regulations and most infamously backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement. While he has benefited the environment in some ways, such as cleaning up super fund sites, he is damaged it much more in others.
Joe Biden has yet to prove whether he will keep his election promises or not, but he appears to have a solid direction for where he wants to take the US in terms of the climate. Here are just a few of the highlights according to his website:
- Recommit to the Climate Paris Agreement
Joe Biden plans to recommit to the Climate Paris Agreement, and to also take it a step farther. He hopes to once again reclaim leadership in the world, and rally other countries to do better at meeting their agreements.
- Move the US to 100% Clean Energy by 2050
He promises to sign executive orders on day one to start putting us on the “right track” towards this goal. He will also ask congress to begin enacting legislation that make a solid platform for this goal in his first year as president.
- Climate Proof Our Country
Climate change has already started making serious changes to our country. Biden plans to buffer those who are suffering most from these changes by creating infrastructure that is more resistant to destruction caused by climate change.
He plans to do this by partnering with local universities to better determine what changes are needed in each area.
- Help workers find jobs in the new economy
If the US is to shift to 100% renewable energy, that means jobs will change too. Joe Biden plans to help support those who may see their job disappear, and not forget the work they have done to boost the economy.
What does that mean for the environment?
Depending on how successful Biden is, this plan of action could be very beneficial to reducing greenhouse gases. Right now the USA is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, at 14.3% of the world’s pollution. China is the leader.
Most countries around the world, China included, have made an effort to control their carbon emissions. Many countries with much fewer resources have done an incredible job with that, such as Costa Rica and Morocco. Costa Rica
Despite having a coal dominated energy sector and dealing with the pandemic, Morocco is one of the few countries on track to keep their emissions compatible with only 1.5C of warming. Costa Rica almost entirely relies on clean energy now, and has done amazing work with restoring their forests.
When President Trump pulled the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement, China became the world leader on climate change. Despite being known for their air pollution, China has in fact made strides on cutting emissions. They have taken the lead in terms of producing clean energy, and has one of the largest solar farms in the world.
If the USA were to once again take up the reins, it’s possible that they could drive other countries to do the same, and help reduce carbon emissions faster.
Right now, we can only wait and watch. It’s too soon to tell how much president elect Joe Biden will be able to do, or whether he will remember his climate promises after he is installed in the White House.