Climate change poses an existential threat all over the world to not just to our environment, but to our health and our communities. President Biden has outlined a bold plan that he calls a “Clean Energy Revolution” to address this grave threat and bring climatic justice to the American people. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” Biden said. “We can’t wait any longer. We see it with our own eyes, we feel it. We know it in our bones. And it’s time to act.”
Biden’s plan begins by making the U.S. achieve a 100% clean energy economy and reach net zero emissions no later than 2050. He will demand that, in the first year of his presidency, Congress enact legislation that first establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, and second, encourages the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, particularly in the communities most affected by climate change.
President Biden also plans to unite the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change by recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change. He will lead an effort to get every major country to work up the ambition of their domestic climate targets. He will make sure those commitments are transparent and enforceable. He plans to fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies, as well as our approach to trade.
The Biden administration will also rally against fossil fuel companies and other pollutive corporations who value profit over individuals and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks. This will help vulnerable communities made up of people of color and low-income families who are disproportionately impacted by climate emergencies and pollution. They will actively take part in ensuring safe living spaces and clean drinking water for the people most affected by the hazards of climate issues.
In order to combat the dangers of climate change, the administration believes that actions must be taken on a local-scale. President Biden has ensured he will put his best efforts into place to rebuild infrastructures. This in turn will not only allow for the creation of jobs in construction, manufacturing, engineering and other skilled-trades, but ensure nationwide sustainable infrastructure.
The climate and environmental justice proposal will make a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years, leveraging additional private sector and state and local investments to total to more than $5 trillion.
With Biden announcing his plan to solve the climate change crisis, others expect to see the administration get creative in broadly implementing its policies. If they are serious about climate mobilization, “it’s not just one agency, it’s the whole of government,” said Robert Kopp, a Rutgers University climate scientist and a lead author on the coming Sixth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“What you have to do is take every mechanism we use to make decisions and integrate climate into it,” said Kopp. “Climate isn’t just some other bucket. It’s really part of everything. I think the (Biden) administration recognizes that and it’s reflected by their efforts.”
“With a supportive Congress, they can change laws, tax incentives and make the infrastructure investments needed to grow the clean energy economy.”
Dr Joeri Rogeli, director of research and lecturer in climate change and the environment at Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, gave his opinion on Biden’s climate change plan by stating, “Besides these promises, there is also hope that they can deliver. A Republican controlled US Senate will undoubtedly slow down the pace. However, Biden and Harris were elected with the support of many progressive voters who had Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as their first choice. This progressive support, including inspiring young voices inside the party, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, now translates into internal political pressure to deliver on the promises made.”
President Biden and his administration have important initiatives that will better this nation as a whole. His policies reflect the values of hardworking Americans who want a better future for their children.
President Biden issues executive orders promoting racial equity days after assuming office
By: Vaishali Patra
Less than a week after being sworn-in, President Joseph Biden issued four executive orders in an attempt at “advancing racial equity.” This includes eliminating privately owned incarceration facilities, strengthening the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and combating racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Executive Orders of the Biden Administration have revoked a number of Trump Administration Policies and organized a comprehensive set of policies aimed at enhancing diversity and equity.
On January 19, one day before the Presidential Inauguration, Biden was promptly approached by the civil rights organization National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who published a comprehensive list of recommendations for the new administration titled “Black America Policy Recommendations for Biden Administration.” This lists was compiled with several requests to bring racial justice. One of its central demands includes limiting the deployment of the Police and law enforcement officers in schools. However, the president hasn’t commented on this, after months of protests from the public demanding to “Defund the Police.”
Among other major demands by the NAACP is one that calls for the cancellation of all student debt. However, Biden has stayed far away from that ideal, indicating that he will eliminate only $10,000 of debt per borrower. He has paused all federal student loan payments until September 2021 as part of the COVID-19 response, but there is no indication of his administration canceling the student loan debt entirely. Biden’s nominee for the education secretary, Miguel Cardona, has not yet revealed any concrete policies that might come into effect under the new administration. His only focus, at the moment, seems to be on reopening schools.
Biden does recognize a variety of measures aimed at ensuring equal opportunity. For instance, eradicating color blindness from federal datasets, and revoking an executive order issued by former President Trump that prevented federal agencies from imparting diversity training to their employees. However, he has not yet done anything to alleviate the staggering racial and gender disparity in the ongoing unemployment crisis. A recent CNN article points out that in December alone, women lost about 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000. Important to note here is that Latina and Black women have the highest unemployment rates among all women. Moreover, the federal employment statistics do not include intersex and nonbinary people, which conflicts with Biden’s objective of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. Whether he will reform this through his new “Data Working Group” is not clear yet.
While Biden’s racial equity order isn’t the kind of radical reform demanded by social reform groups, it still says a lot about the new administration’s approach to race. Joe Biden’s strong language condemning the Capitol Hill insurrection during the signing of the order gives out a serious anti-racist message. Keeping that in mind, we also need to recognize that actions speak louder than words and for the time being, we will have to see how Biden plans to implement racial equality in the U.S. indefinitely.