Biden's $2 Trillion Climate Plan to Prioritize 'Environmental & Climate Justice'

Biden promises 'clean energy future' will bring 'equitable economic opportunity'

Biden's $2 Trillion Climate Plan to Prioritize 'Environmental & Climate Justice'
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden holds up a mask as he speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., on June 30, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alan McDonnell

Former Vice President Joe Biden will prioritize "environmental justice and equitable economic opportunity" as part of his Clean Energy Plan to combat climate change, according to a statement released Tuesday.

The Democratic Party's presidential candidate says his $2 trillion Biden Plan will move to ensure a carbon-free power sector by 2035, which will be accompanied by massive investments in electricity grids and storage to support the construction of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. The upgrading of 4 million buildings and the weatherization of 2 million homes will create 1 million new jobs, according to the plan.

Biden said he intends to use an "All-of-Government approach" to tackle environmental issues, making data-driven decisions and employing resources in a manner consistent with his prioritization of "environmental and climate justice." He also promises to plan for the next public health emergency.

The former vice president says that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis should serve as a reminder that past policy decisions in the realm of energy and the environment have "failed" black, Latino, and Native American communities, which he says are disproportionately affected by "stressors" such as systemic shocks and pandemics.

Biden insists that in association with his "Build Back Better" plan, his climate plan will help ensure that the U.S. economy will be "less vulnerable to shocks and better able to bounce back from future threats."

The Biden Plan

As part of Biden's climate plan, a Civilian Climate Corps—described as "a new, diverse generation of patriotic Americans"—would conserve public lands, serve the community, and address climate change by thinning forests, restoring wetlands, planting trees in urban neighborhoods, and removing invasive species.

As part of his plan to rebuild America's infrastructure, Biden proposes to spark "the second great railway revolution," ensuring that the United States would boast the "cleanest, safest, and fastest" rail system in the world. Municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants would also enjoy "quality" public transportation by 2030, Biden says.

 Democrat presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets workers during a campaign stop at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Mack Assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on March 10, 2020. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
Democrat presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets workers during a campaign stop at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Mack Assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on March 10, 2020. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

To ensure United States carmakers can win in the 21st century, the plan promises to vigorously defend American manufacturers, retooling the industry and expanding both factories and employee numbers. Biden's clean energy plan focuses strongly on electric vehicles and zero-emission buses manufactured in the United States. According to the plan, "Biden will vigorously enforce trade rules in response to currency manipulation, overcapacity, and Chinese government abuses" in the automotive sector.

The energy sector would be assisted in Biden's drive for decarbonization by an "Advanced Research Projects Agency on Climate," which would promote innovation in affordable grid-scale storage, advanced nuclear reactors, zero net energy buildings, hydrogen from renewable sources, decarbonized food production, and carbon capture and storage technology.

According to the plan, a Biden administration would prioritize environmental justice issues and hold polluters accountable, ensuring that disadvantaged communities are identified and that they would receive 40 percent of the benefits of spending in clean energy and energy efficiency, transit projects, affordable housing, and the development of water infrastructure.

Oil & Gas Industry Criticism

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued a statement in response to Biden's Clean Energy Plan. According to the API, it is impossible to address climate change without involving America's oil and natural gas industries. The Institute insisted that U.S. oil and gas leads the world in reducing carbon emissions while providing "affordable, reliable and cleaner" energy to American citizens.

“We stand at a crossroads for the nation’s energy future, and the choices policymakers make in 2020 and beyond will determine whether we build on America’s energy progress or shift to foreign energy sources with lower environmental standards,” said API President and CEO, Mike Sommers.

Referring to Biden's proposal, Sommers said, “This plan would require a massive amount of infrastructure buildout, a goal we all share. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when we’ve seen opposition to energy projects of all kinds with activist groups obstructing development every step of the way."

According to the API, the United States has reduced carbon emissions more than any other nation over the past 20 years. Furthermore, the Institute says that according to its latest study, exports of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) could play a vital role in reducing such emissions globally.