Opinion: President-Elect Biden’s Climate Reform Plan

By: Mackenzie Lotz

President-elect Joe Biden has already declared his climate reform plans just days after it was reported he won the 2020 presidential election on Saturday Nov. 7.

Climate was on the ballot this election cycle, but a lot of the candidates’ plans were fairly vague. Biden has now released his concrete plan on how to deal with the ever-changing climate. His first task will be to undo a lot of Trump’s previous executive orders. Biden has talked about making a new National Climate Council office in D.C. This council would assist the President, make climate change its number one priority and work with other world leaders to achieve positive results. Several people have been mentioned to head up this council, such as former Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped create the Paris Agreement, former governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, and former President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, John Podesta. This would show that Biden is keeping climate change a top priority. 

First off, Biden has pledged to embrace international climate diplomacy— this means he  plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which Trump dropped the United States out of in 2017. Part of Biden’s pledge entails continuing to cut emissions lower and regulate corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, Biden plans to spend $2 trillion to back clean energy and “green” jobs. The government has arguably never taken  measures to support renewable energy and climate legislation to this extent.  Biden also wants to restore wildlife areas. In 2017, Trump made major cuts to the amount of land protected in  areas such as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Trump also proposed that parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be open to oil drilling. Biden has indicated that he wants to ensure that 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters are protected by the year 2030.

All of these plans are pretty ambitious in the ways of climate change. His foremost focus in office is going to be on COVID-19. Biden plans to have the U.S. rejoin the World Health Organization, as well as assemble a team to handle the virus directly. That team consists of people such as the former Surgeon General and the former Federal Department of Agriculture Commissioner. He wants to decrease the number of cases by making masks mandatory and investing in treatments and vaccines. 

Although many scientists are relieved with Biden’s new plans, many Republicans are not. Georgia’s two Senate races are both headed to runoffs in January; those results will determine if Republicans maintain control of  the Senate. If that is the outcome, it will be a long and difficult road to get many of these plans passed.

No matter your political standing, the Earth is our home. We only have 10 more years to prevent this irreversible damage—try to do your part to help our planet.

Cover photo courtesy of Pixabay

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