President Biden, embracing greater ambition on an epic scale

If we can harness all of our energy and talents, and unmatchable American innovation, we can turn this threat into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy sector and boost growth economy-wide. We can create new industries that reinvigorate our manufacturing and create high-quality, middle-class jobs in cities and towns across the United States. We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower. We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home.  Getting to a 100% clean energy economy is not only an obligation, it’s an opportunity. We should fully adopt a clean energy future, not just for all of us today, but for our children and grandchildren, so their tomorrow is healthier, safer, and more just.

President Jo Biden on his climate statement

Imagine, if you will, Scott Morrison or even Anthony Albanese uttering these words. We hope they will soon be obliged to. Here’s the Biden kicker for Australia:

He (Joe Biden) will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that. He will lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets. He will make sure those commitments are transparent and enforceable, and stop countries from cheating by using America’s economic leverage and power of example. He will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies, as well as our approach to trade.

The list of reforms is world-changing, hard to fault. See here for the full statement. Here are the highlights: 

  • A plan to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net zero emissions no later than 2050 with enforcement mechanisms, historic investment in energy and climate research and innovation and targets to get there no later than 2025.
  • A $2 trillion investment in a clean energy plan
  • Reinstating the Obama Clean Air Act on tailpipe emissions and fuel economy standards ensuring 100% electrification of new light and medium-duty vehicles
  • $500 billion every year on clean fuels and zero emissions fleet vehicles, delivering 1 million new jobs in the auto industry
  • Action against fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profit over people and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks. 
  • Refusing donations from oil, gas and coal corporations or executives
  • Climate resilience plans so that buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change
  • An international climate change summit on Earth Day, April 22 to ensure that 2021 will be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years.
  • Reversing the Trump tax cuts for corporations, reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing, ensuring corporations pay their fair share, closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth not work, and end subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels
  • Banning new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030.
  • Requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.

It’s impressive.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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