A far cry from the bucolic and boring White House that the previous president had predicted, the Biden Administration is making it clear that it has an ambitious agenda with plans and reforms that include a number of pending issues ranging from immigration and social justice to infrastructure and the environment. Colossal plans in the middle of a pandemic, and if successful, would make President Biden one of the most memorable and proactive in the history of the North American country. The promises of the new government show a president who thinks big, with no time to waste and destined to change the future of America and the planet, if he can get away with it.
On Earth Day
Biden is showing that he doesn’t like to do things by halves. He had promised 100 million inoculations of the coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days, and he fulfilled the promise when he had been in office for half that time, with indications that by April 28, he will have doubled the proposal.
Now Biden, coinciding with Earth Day, vowed to cut U.S. carbon emissions during the virtual world summit this Thursday and Friday in a bold new gamble on a presidency that stands out for a moderate tone, but with an increasingly expansive progressive agenda. Without a doubt, Biden wants to go down in history using the cusp of his power to forge a legacy as a generational reformer of the stature of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. But for those accolades to be deserved, he will have to pass an agenda that reshapes much of the economy for the benefit of workers, a success that the rival caucus is unwilling to allow.
United States Leadership
Biden’s speech at this summit was characteristic of an emerging foreign policy in which the president seeks to regain America’s global leadership role as opposed to the navel policy of his predecessor. Biden vowed to lead by example by proposing to cut America’s carbon emissions by as much as 52% from 2005 levels by 2030 – a significant step, but one that America’s allies fear a future Republican president could reverse. . If Biden succeeds in translating his promise, as well as the infrastructure plans into law in his first year in office, it would be compared to FDR’s Great Depression policy blitz. But with an evenly divided Senate, that’s easier said than done.
Objective: save the planet
The virtual summit attended by more than three dozen world leaders, including Russian and Chinese rivals Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, aimed to increase international climate ambitions and reestablish the United States as a leader in the effort to curb the climate. global warming. The pledge represents nearly doubling the target the nation committed to under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, when Barack Obama wanted to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent compared to 2005 levels. Biden reintroduced to the United States in the Paris Agreement, from which, to the embarrassment of the nation, President Donald Trump emerged.
The new promise hints at the profound changes that Biden wants to implement, from the decarbonization of the country’s energy sector to the phasing out of gasoline vehicles, not only as a remedy to the climate crisis, but as a massive investment in a new one. generation of better-paid jobs throughout the country, especially in the communities that have been most affected by unemployment. The pledge is also intended to spearhead the kind of outreach and urgency that the international community must embrace ahead of a critical UN climate meeting this fall in Scotland.
Some nations have already set more aggressive emission reduction targets. The United Kingdom this week announced a commitment to reduce its emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, compared to 1990 levels, a goal that would move the nation towards net zero by 2050. Emitters, including China, India and Russia, have yet to explain how they intend to help put the world on a more sustainable path.
China, the biggest greenhouse gas polluter, has said it plans to hit peak emissions by 2030 and effectively wipe its carbon footprint by 2060, though the details remain uncertain. Still, despite the myriad diplomatic tensions between the two countries, the United States and China pledged to jointly combat climate change “with the seriousness and urgency it demands.”
The planet is far from meeting the central Paris target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, or ideally staying closer to 1.5 Celsius. Failure to meet those goals, the scientists warned, will lead to a cascade of devastating and costly effects.
In the United States, the energy sector represents one of the best opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the number of large private companies that are beginning to see the economic potential of the transition to clean energy is increasing.
Opportunity in change
Environmental activists, Democratic lawmakers, foreign leaders and hundreds of private companies, including Apple and Walmart, have implored the White House to make the boldest climate promise possible. Advocacy groups and academics have published detailed analyzes, showing ways they say the nation could cut at least half of its emissions by the end of the decade.
To reach the 50 percent target, the Administration will have to start from assumptions that are difficult to guarantee about the future, including that the new regulations are not reversed by a future Administration or the courts. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency are already laying the groundwork to curb methane emissions from drilling for oil and natural gas, in part by reviving the Obama Administration standards that were struck down under Trump. EPA is moving to gradually reduce the production and import of hydrofluorocarbons, which are widely used as refrigerants, and in air conditioning, by 85 percent over the next 15 years, as mandated by Congress.
While allies are likely to embrace Biden’s push to aggressively cut emissions, some Republicans have insisted the far-reaching changes needed to cut greenhouse gas pollution so quickly could hurt an already struggling economy. , particularly in communities that still depend on the fossil fuel industry, confirming the idea anchored in the past that Trump defended. The economy has not suffered the crash predicted by Trump in his last days in Washington.
The economic question
World leaders are focusing on one key element: the private sector and the vast amount of money it can invest to transform the global economy. During the summit, dozens of companies announced increased investment in renewable energy, electric vehicles and forestry as part of a push to decarbonize the world. At the same time, the business community faces increased pressure to turn off the tap on loans and investments for fossil fuels and other sources of greenhouse gases. The world’s poorest countries are also demanding that the international financial sector channel more of its investments and loans to less developed nations to pay for emissions reductions and to help those countries adapt to the climate shocks they are already facing. In the United States, more companies are looking for ways to achieve zero net goals and meet the demands of shareholders, consumers, and employees. Ceres, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable development, recently released a letter signed by some 350 companies urging Biden to set a challenging goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50 percent or more relative to US emissions. 2005 levels.
Biden’s initial budget request called for an additional $ 1.2 billion over the next two years for the international Green Climate Fund. Activists criticized that amount as insufficient, although the Administration stressed that it is the starting point and that it is likely to provide an additional $ 2 billion that the country had promised in Paris, and that Donald Trump subsequently blocked.
The president’s plans represent a gigantic advance in the conservation of the planet and the redirection of the economy in what could become a transformation of equal importance to that of the Industrial Revolution, an uphill road, whose first step, Biden, seems willing to give.