In his 2 weeks of presidency, Joe Biden has done a lot for the environment

The new president of the United States has a more ecological vision than his predecessor in the White House .

Joe Biden signing a document

Joe Biden has taken action to reverse several of the decisions made by Donald Trump in his first two weeks in office. / Photo: TW-POTUS

LatinAmerican Post | Moises Campos

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Leer en español: Estas son las medidas ambientales que ha tomado Joe Biden hasta ahora

With very little time as president of the United States, Joe Biden has taken actions to reverse several of the decisions made by Donald Trump, related to the environment and that generated controversy in different sectors.

These actions have been carried out in order to reverse and undo policies related to the protection of the environment . These are Biden's main measures that fit his government proposal and that are part of the fight to prevent the effects of climate change.

Return of the United States to the Paris Agreement

According to an article published by the France24 web portal, Biden has done more for the environment in the short time he has been in charge than everything Trump did during the four years of his tenure. As part of his policies to protect the environment, Biden signed the reincorporation to the Paris Climate Agreement in his third decree.

This agreement was signed by 195 countries in 2015, in order to create a commitment that seeks to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius in relation to the temperature of the planet. If it is taken into account that the United States together with China are the countries that have the highest emission of greenhouse gases in the world, the importance of this return can be understood. 

Trump during his presidency, annulled many of the environmental provisions that had been taken by Obama, and that are now being applied again by Biden. This return of the United States to the Paris Agreement has been like a new stage in the fight against the effects of climate change.

Keystone XL Pipeline Cancellation

Another of the measures taken by Biden is the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project, whose construction had been strongly criticized by environmental and indigenous groups. This pipeline would allow the transport of oil from Alberta in Canada to Nebraska in the United States, as appears in the review on the swissinfo.ch portal, the international section of the Swiss Radio and Television Society.

This has caused tension with the Canadian authorities, who argue that the project would allow the United States to access oil in a more ethical way, instead of resorting to importing from highly unstable countries. For environmental organizations, this Canadian oil is one of the most polluting, and therefore this project was a factor that could worsen the climate crisis.

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Other actions taken by Biden in his fight against climate change

However, these are not the only actions that Biden has taken during the first days and that reverse Trump's environmental policy, as the Efe news agency website indicates, the following measures were also taken: 

  • Suspension of new oil and natural gas exploitation concessions throughout the country.
  • The provision of greater protection to natural spaces and conservation of at least 30% of these, both terrestrial and marine, by 2030.
  • Reduction of subsidies for the oil sector.

What is expected in environmental policy?

The change in Biden's environmental policy begins by putting clean energy above the energy obtained from fossil fuels and oil, which were favored by Trump. This implies the return to environmental protection laws and economic support for environmental programs in Latin American countries, as can be read in the article by María Clara Calle on the independent environmental journalism portal, Mongabay Latam.

Some of the programs that could return with the Biden administration are:

Energy efficiency

Recovery of the regulations established by Obama and frozen by Trump, related to fuel efficiency for automobiles and the regulations established for coal power plants. Considered fundamental by environmentalists, since the United States is the second country in the world in emission of carbon gases, as specified by Yolanda Kakabadse, former Minister of the Environment of Ecuador in the aforementioned article.

Low Emission Development Strategies

This program promoted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID for its acronym in English) during the Obama presidency, sought to finance 24 developing countries to establish plans to reduce emissions. In Latin America, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico received funds. 

Environmental policies towards Latin America

Óscar Soria, who is the campaign director for Avaaz.org, a United States organization that promotes citizen activism on different social issues, indicates in the same article that Biden needs Latin American countries to strengthen their environmental commitment, and this will be possible with economic support programs that allow us to stop dependence on fossil fuels.

Some countries in the region that are part of the G20, such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, are going to receive more pressure to establish the environmental commitments proposed by the Biden administration. In this new stage, the United States is committed to ensuring that this group makes a solid commitment to reducing polluting emissions that goes beyond the Paris Agreement.

One of Biden's environmental plans is to establish a much more integrated clean energy network, from Mexico to Colombia. It also seeks to influence the change in land use in the countries of the region as sources of specific emissions. Policies are expected to be developed in this regard, according to Liliana Dávalos, senior lecturer at Stony Brook University in New York, in the same article.

For environmentalists, Biden still has much to do in environmental matters, both to reverse the paralysis that occurred during the Trump administration of environmental protection policies, and for the United States to once again play a leading role in the fight against climate change.