Environmentalists, Scientists, and global citizens rejoice together that Trump and his climate change denial cohorts are out of the White House as Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States.
What are Biden’s promises?
Biden’s Green New Deal (GND) has targets to reach a 100% clean energy economy and Net Zero emissions by 2050 and intends to create an enforcement mechanism by the end of his first term so that the US will stick to this goal.
Biden is set to invest $1.7 trillion into this plan in the next 10 years, preparing infrastructure to withstand and reduce the effects of climate change, introducing a carbon tax and leveraging local and private sectors with another $5 trillion.
He also plans to put the US on the global forefront of the fight for climate change, first by re-joining the 2015 Paris climate accords and also by rallying other countries to the threat of climate change through a diplomatic initiative.
These plans should reduce global temperatures by 0.1 degrees by 2100 according to The Climate Action Tracker and reduce emissions by 75 gigatons of carbon dioxide for the US in the next 30 years.
Biden’s plans will not come without struggle, The US is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide per capita in the world, contributing to 15% of global emissions. It is one of three countries contributing above 1% of Co2 emissions not signed to the Paris climate agreement including Iran and Turkey.
In his term, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed 217 Supreme Court justices, federal circuit and district judges, such as Amy Coney Barrett, a hard conservative known for her ideas on pro-life and climate change denial.
These changes mean a third of active US appeals court judges were appointed by Trump which breaks records for appointments in one term since Jimmy Carter between 1977 – 1981 who did so due to an expansion of the courts.
For these plans to have some chance of success, voters in Georgia need to elect democrat candidates in the two senate runoff elections in January 2021 so that Biden can move smoothly through congress.
Biden is going to have to revert back on the changes that the Trump administration made, in his 4 years Trump did a lot of damage: He dismantled the clean power plan, blocked a rule to phase out inefficient light bulbs and loosened emission standards for cars and trucks, plus he rolled back limiting methane pollution from oil and gas infrastructure, to mention a few.
What further challenges will he face?
According to an investigative financial report by Sludge, as of 2019, 25% of congress/ 139 members and their spouses own up to $93 million of stocks and mutual fund interests in coal, gas and oil. The largest being Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, owning between $8.2 million and $19.1 million worth of stock in oil, gas, and coal interests.
Members of the Republican party hold roughly double the amount of money in the fossil fuel industry than members of the Democrats, however some democrat members hold some of the largest investments.
Democrat Senator, Joe Manchin has between $1 million and $5 million invested in his family coal business, Ener systems LLC, and is the largest investor in fossil fuel within the senate. Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made him a ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Further challenges his administration will face are within the international community. According to The Climate Action Tracker, there are very few states that are meeting the UN goals for climate change -Morocco being one of few- and there are no key role models in the international community.
According to Norman Myers, a British environmentalist, the world is projected to have 250 million climate refugees by 2050, so Biden’s promises are a glimmer of hope that the US will rise to the task as a leader in the fight against climate change with huge economic and soft global power.