Biden unveils climate plan
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden released a $2 trillion plan Tuesday aimed at combating climate change and spurring economic growth in part by overhauling America’s energy industry, with a proposal to achieve entirely carbon pollution-free power by 2035.
“These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people,” Biden said during remarks to reporters near his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden acknowledged that the economy is in “crisis” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said it offers “an incredible opportunity, not just to build back to where we were before, but better, stronger, more resilient and more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.”
The plan marks his latest effort to build out a legislative agenda with measures that could animate progressives who may be skeptical of Biden, who waged a more centrist campaign during the Democratic primary.
It reflects ideas embraced by some of Biden’s more progressive allies during the primary, like Jay Inslee, whose campaign centered on the issue of climate change. But it doesn’t go as far as the Green New Deal, the sweeping proposal from progressives in Congress that calls for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by 2030.
Biden’s plan does align with a climate bill spearheaded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in reducing emissions to zero by 2050, however. And it goes farther than that bill on achieving a carbon-neutral power sector. House Democrats’ proposal sets a 2040 deadline for that goal, while Biden’s aims to achieve it five years faster.
In the plan, Biden pledges to spend $2 trillion over four years to promote his energy proposals, a significant acceleration of the $1.7 trillion over 10 years he proposed spending in his climate plan during the primary.
The proposal doesn’t include specifics on how it would be paid for. Senior campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy said it would require a mix of tax increases on corporations and the wealthy and deficit spending aimed at stimulating the economy.
Biden made no mention of banning dirtier-burning coal or prohibiting fracking, Biden’s new plan instead describes easing out burning oil, gas and coal through more efficient vehicles, public transport, buildings and power plants.