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Why is Biden Breaking his Environmental Promises?

The decisions of the Joe Biden government regarding the export of gas and oil extraction are causing discomfort in environmental sectors. At Latinamerican Post, we analyze compliance with Joe Biden's environmental policies.

Joe Biden

Photo: TW-POTUS

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué Biden está incumpliendo sus promesas medioambientales?

When Joe Biden became president of the United States, hope was kindled in the scientific community and among environmentalists that he would launch a government that would take climate change seriously. In fact, this was one of the strongest campaign issues in opposition to the Donald Trump administration. Building an economy around clean energy, clean water for all and healthier air were among Joe Biden's environmental policy campaign promises. All this with promises of generating job opportunities and lower costs for families.

His first actions in favor of achieving environmental goals were to rejoin the Paris Agreement, from which Trump had withdrawn the country, and to create the first National Task Force on Climate, with about 21 leaders of government agencies. Its goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, make the transition to green energy by 2035, achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and return 40% of the benefits of clean economies to underprivileged communities.

Despite having these clear objectives regarding environmental needs, taking one of the most polluting economies in the world to be carbon neutral will not be an easy task. Even more so if one takes into account that economic interests tend to prevail over the objectives of sustainable development in a world market economy in which the private sector has more and more power.

Read also: What Is Environmental Racism? The Case Of Austin, Texas

Change of plans for the war between Russia and Ukraine

Despite the goals that the United States has set for reducing carbon emissions, the energy crisis caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine has changed the game scenario. This is one of the reasons why Joe Biden's environmental policies are being breached. The White House government announced an initiative to supply Europe with liquefied natural gas and help the old continent cut its dependence on Russia. Likewise, the Biden government approved the resumption of oil extraction on public land. So instead of moving away from fossil fuel production, it seems that the United States is taking an even bigger role in the production and distribution of this type of energy.

Gina McCarthy, the White House adviser on climate change, has been launching new plans for the last few days to reduce pollution and carbon emissions, improve infrastructure and have more electric transportation systems. However, while this is happening, the North American government is also committing itself to greater energy support for the European Union, as happened at the end of March with the meeting in Brussels between Biden and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

In addition, it should be noted that several of the climate legislation initiatives have been opposed in the United States Congress, such as Biden's social and climate spending law, for which it is impossible to achieve changes that are not approved by legal channels.

It should also be noted that both the United States and Europe have highlighted the need to transition to clean energy to cut dependence on Russian gas and ensure sustainability. The problem here lies in the speed at which these changes must be made, since various recent reports, such as that of the United Nations IPCC, indicate that it must be done almost immediately. “Instead of taking decades to build the export terminals necessary for us to continue burning fossil fuels and turning the Earth into a burning inferno, we should be investing in solar production in urban environments where energy is used, on rooftops and parking canopies, so Europe and the United States can transition to clean energy sources and bring that production online much faster,” said the director of the Western Watersheds Project.

In this regard, various environmental organizations have expressed themselves in press releases to point out the hypocrisy of the measures. "Not only is the administration not doing everything it could, it's actually doing nothing. Climate action was a mainstay of President Biden's campaign, and his promises on this existential issue were one of the main reasons why that the public elected him. Getting climate results is not a matter of domestic politics. It's life or death," said Kyle Tisdel of the Western Environmental Law Center.